U.S. health officials are reporting that medical researchers are finding that resistance to antibiotics increases during the flu season, making the drugs less effective. Findings show that the reason for this is that is the time of the year when the drugs are most frequently prescribed.
The study appeared online this month in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases and a report was posted on HealthDay, a web site of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which said that physicians and scientists have worried for years about the possible overuse of antibiotics, since germs can adapt and become immune to them over time.
The study comes on the heels of another disturbing study by Canadian researchers who found that antibiotics are being overprescribed and that a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones is putting patients – possibly numbering in the millions — at increased risk of detached retinas and possibly blindness.
According to the Clinical Infectious Diseases report:
The researchers looked at statistics regarding antibiotic use and levels of resistance to the drugs. They found that levels of drug-resistant E. coli went up after spikes in prescriptions of two antibiotics, aminopenicillin and fluoroquinolone. The same thing happened to the antibiotic-resistant staph infection called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA. In the months after prescriptions for two other antibiotics, fluoroquinolones and macrolides, went up, so did cases of MRSA.
“The correlations are concerning, but they also suggest that interventions to reduce antibiotic overuse could help reduce seasonal spikes in resistance,” study author Ramanan Laxminarayan said in a Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy news release. “Patients and doctors should work together to reduce the number of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions by not taking or prescribing antibiotics to treat viral illnesses, such as colds and flus. Flu shots also have an important role to play, reducing illness in winter months and leading to fewer doctor visits and fewer antibiotic prescriptions as a result.”
Read more on a possible Antibiotics and Retinal Detachment Lawsuit
In the case of fluoroquinolones, there are now reports of an increasing number of lawsuits being filed by victims of retinal detachments caused by this class of antibiotics. Many of the victims were forced to seek emergency treatment, according to the allegations made in fluoroquinolones lawsuits. The findings by Canadian health officials have generated media headlines and genuine medical concerns because of the vast number of prescriptions of this type of antibiotics in the treatment of a variety of bacterial infections. Health officials estimate that about 40 million prescriptions for fluoroquinolones were written last year.
Among them are some of the most prescribed medications available in pharmacies. They include: Cipro, Levaquin, Tequin, Maxaquin, Avelox, Factive, Floxin, Noroxin, Penetrex, Zagam, as well as any other antibiotic that contains the words “flox” or “ox” in the generic name, such as ciprofloxacin, levafloxacin and gatifloxacin.
Some ophthalmic and otic (ear) drops solutions contain FQ’s such as: Chibroxin(norfloxacin), Ocuflox(ofloxacin), Quixin(levofloxacin), Zymar(gatifloxacin), Ciloxan(ciprofloxacin), Floxin Otic (ofloxacin), Cipro Otic (ciprofloxacin), Vigamox(moxifloxacin), CiproHC.
These are the most common symptoms. Health experts advise patients suffering these symptoms to seek medical attention as soon as possible:
- Wiggly lines
- Floating particles