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Evaluated: Antibiotics are used incorrectly far too often

Evaluated: Antibiotics are used incorrectly far too often


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TK: Many insured receive antibiotics if they have a cold
According to the health report of the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), many Germans receive antibiotics for colds. Such careless and improper use of antibiotics is a massive problem in medicine. Bremen's health economist Professor Gerd Glaeske is therefore calling for a guideline for doctors to contain the problem. Because the result is increasing resistance of the bacterial pathogen and, according to many experts, there is a risk of a post-antibiotic age in which bacterial infectious diseases can only be treated to a limited extent.

Improper use includes, for example, the use of antibiotics for colds, which, according to the Techniker Krankenkasse, affects almost every fifth insured person in Germany. Although the prescriptions of antibiotics against colds show a slightly declining trend in the data of the TK health report, more than one in five insured persons are still prescribed such medicines for cough, runny nose and hoarseness. Here the problem of improper use of antibiotics becomes particularly clear, because colds are mostly viral infections against the antibiotics have no effect.

Spread of multi-resistant pathogens
Antibiotics are actually highly effective medicines for the treatment of bacterial infections. When used improperly, however, bacteria often come into contact with low doses that do not kill them, and the pathogens can subsequently develop resistance to the drugs in the relevant class. Many germs have already developed resistance that they can pass on to one another. The spread of multidrug-resistant germs has increased massively in recent decades and not only the World Health Organization (WHO) sees this as one of the greatest medical challenges of the future.

Strategy against antibiotic resistance
The Federal Government has responded with the German Antibiotic Resistance Strategy (DART 2020), which represents the measures that are required to reduce antibiotic resistance. According to this, for example, "There is a great need for information and gaps in knowledge in the population as well as in medical and veterinary circles, as well as in animal keepers, which need to be eliminated." According to Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe, the Federal Government is also increasingly campaigning for the topic of antibiotic resistance at the World Health Organization .. Cooperation with the WHO plays a special role here, since worldwide measures are necessary to curb the further increase in resistance.

Many insured receive antibiotics for colds
Last year's TK Health Report made it clear that, statistically, almost four out of ten employees who are insured with TK were on sick leave from their doctor in 2015 because of a cold. Around one in five (20.5 percent) who were on sick leave for a maximum of three days received an antibiotic prescription. According to media reports, the preliminary data for the current year show that this was still the case in 2016 for around 19 percent of these TK insureds.

Decrease in improper antibiotic prescriptions
Overall, the TK data show a very positive trend, which also speaks for an increased awareness of the problem of antibiotic resistance. In 2011, almost one in three (28.8 percent) insured were given antibiotics for a maximum of three days of a cold, even though the antibiotics only work against bacteria and not against viruses. The decline to around 20 percent in 2016 is therefore gratifying. The Techniker Krankenkasse also emphasizes that patients can do a lot themselves "to protect themselves and to prevent multi-resistant pathogens from spreading."

Instructions for handling antibiotics are required
The TK has a digital information package “Multi-resistant pathogens - what to do?” On its website for the information of the insured. provided, which among other things deals with the areas of antibiotics, travel, hospital and kitchen hygiene. For example, "the most effective method of prevention in the hospital is consistent hand disinfection," emphasizes Hardy Müller from the Scientific Institute of the Techniker Krankenkasse. (WINEG). In view of the continued high prescription rates with improper background, the Bremen health economist Professor Dr. Gerd Glaeske also requested a handout for doctors on how to use antibiotics. "We don't have a single guideline that explains exactly how antibiotics should be taken," Glaeske is quoted by the news agency "dpa". In addition, more hygienists are required in hospitals, which in turn should be more closely linked to outpatients. (fp)

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