Warning issued over incorrect use of antibiotics


The incorrect use of antibiotics are spreading superbugs like MRSA, it was warned today.

Pharmacists said patients are putting their health at risk and impacting on society as more and more bacteria become resistant to commonly used antibiotics. 

The Irish Pharmacy Union said the country has the second highest rate of VRE - a group of bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics - in Europe.

Launching a new awareness campaign, pharmacists revealed antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections and appealed to patients to learn about the appropriate treatments for a cold or flu.

Cork pharmacist Keith O’Hourihane said: “We need to give antibiotics the respect they deserve and take them only when absolutely necessary, otherwise we are putting lives at risk, not only for patients today but for future

“If you are prescribed antibiotics by your doctor, it is important to take them exactly as prescribed.”

A recent survey found one in four people over 50 admitted failing to take a full course of antibiotics in the past, risking a recurrence of the illness.

Mr O’Hourihane said antibiotics can sometimes cause unwanted side effects such as stomach upsets, diarrhoea, thrush and even allergic reactions, so should only be taken when necessary.

Patients are advised to complete the course of antibiotics, even if the symptoms seem to have disappeared, know potential side effects and interactions with other medicines and alcohol, and stressed that if you miss a dose do not take a double dose of medication at the same time to compensate.