India high on Antibiotic drug resistance list, usage doubled in 15 years, warns a study

India high on Antibiotic drug resistance list, usage doubled in 15 years, warns a study

India high on Antibiotic drug resistance list, usage doubled in 15 years, warns a study

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) claims that resistance to antibiotic dosages has made it more difficult to treat even non-fatal ailments such as E.coli, Strep Throat, Pneumonia, and Tuberculosis. The study noted that Indians have nearly doubled the usage of antibiotics in between 2000 and 2015.

Steep Increase in usage of Antibiotics in India

The study noted that greater and easier access to antibiotics for usage in both the public and private sectors and increasing economic growth of India are among the factors that have fueled the steep increase in usage of antibiotics in India – touching 6.5 billion Defined Daily Doses (DDD) in 2015 from 3.2 billion in 2000.

An analysis of the usage of antibiotics across 76 countries has shown that there has been an increase of 65% in 2015 with a total global antibiotic consumption at 35 billion DDDs, compared to what the rate was in 2000.

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Studies warn Bacterial Ailments not easily treatable in India now

The study warned that for Indians, bacterial ailments that were once very easily treated are almost becoming impossible to cure as the bacteria is fast evolving to evade the antibiotics because of misuse and overuse of antibiotics. This leads to drug resistance.

In Indian as well as in the lower-middle income countries, the rising trend of over usage of antibiotics is being driven by frequent outbreaks of infectious diseases, cheaper antibiotics, increased incidents of hospitalization, a poor regulatory framework for the private sector hospitals, rising income and over the counter sales of drugs.

“The background burden of bacterial infections, and misuse for all fevers regardless of whether they are caused by parasites, viruses or bacteria, is another major causal factor. Unless we improve regulation, we can expect that the resistance problem will get worse,” said study co-author Dr. Ramanan Laxinarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP).

Only bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics.

Studies warn Bacterial Ailments not easily treatable in India now

Studies warn Bacterial Ailments not easily treatable in India now

Powerful Antibiotic Combinations were used to combat drug resistance

New and more powerful combination of drugs was made use of to combat drug resistance about two decades ago. But at present, such options are diminished because it was way back in 1987 that the last new class of antibiotics was discovered, whereas, there has only primarily been variations and enhancement of the power of the existing ones. There are some in the development pipeline, but they are far from reaching the market at the present moment.

The study, conducted by CDDEP (Check out the Antibiotic Resistance Map Developed by CDDEP), Princeton University, ETH Zurich and the University of Antwerp, claimed that since 2000, there had been a dramatic increase in the wrong usage of third-generation antibiotics such as Cephalosporins and Linezolid for treating multidrug-resistant bacteria in India.

Similar trends as reported in the study have been found by data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Surveillance Network.

“From data obtained so far, more than 70% Enterobacteriaceae — which include Salmonella, E. Coli, Yersinia pestis, Klebsiella, and Shigella — are resistant to third-generation cephalosporins. Among the Enterobacteriaceae species, Klebsiella and E. coli have been found to be resistant to third-generation cephalosporins (80%),” said Dr. Kamini Walia, senior scientist and programme officer (AMR) at ICMR.

Increasing coverage for vaccination, regulation of over the counter drug sale, educating physicians about adequate dosages of antibiotics and eradication of irrational fixed-dose combinations has to be immediately initiated by India to tackle this menace, says Dr. Laxminarayan, whose study is the most comprehensive assessment of global trends to date.