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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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February 2018 (Vol. 28 Issue 11)

The drugs don't work:

About the author: 

The drugs don't work: image

The consequence of over-prescribing is a resistance to drugs

The consequence of over-prescribing is a resistance to drugs. It has already happened to antibiotics, and now the same thing is being seen with the antiviral drugs. As a result, diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B are more difficult to manage.
New research, which tracked 4500 HIV patients, found that 10 per cent were resistant to an antiviral within two years, and nearly a third were resistant after six years' usage. One in 25 HIV patients has built up resistance to every type of antiviral.
The same picture is occurring among hepatitis B patients. It's been reckoned that a fifth of all strains are now untreatable because of their resistance to existing drugs, and there are early signs that influenza is also not reacting to drugs.
But it's not all bad news. Although the prescribing of antibiotics has dropped by half in UK hospitals in the past 10 years, there hasn't been the expected rise of bacterial infections.
Nobody is quite sure what to make of the statistics. Could it be that antibiotics had been unnecessarily prescribed in the first place? Have people found better ways of countering bacterial infections? Whatever the reason, there's life beyond drugs after all.


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