Antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance are a specific kinds of drug resistance. This phenomenon evolves naturally through random mutation. This is when microbes, including bacteria, parasites, and viruses, no longer respond to a drug that was previously used to treat them effectively.
Antimicrobial resistance refers to bacteria resisting antibiotics, while antibiotic resistance is the opposition of any microbe drugs which scientists created to kill them. Although very similar, it is important to note that the two terms also refer to different things.
When doctors introduce a new antimicrobial drug within a patient’s system, they do so knowing that it may become ineffective after some time. This characteristic of antimicrobial drugs is due to changes within the microbes, but it is also primarily due to people’s behavior.
The changes within the microbes may come about in different ways. The microbes may have undergone mutation, selective pressure, gene transfer, or even phenotypic change. However, a larger concern is how people use antimicrobial drugs.
The largest contributor to antibiotic resistance has to do with lack of patient compliance as well as misuse and abuse. There is a trend of patients not completing the prescribed treatment of antibiotics. Once they feel that their health has already improved, many people stop taking their antibiotics.
However, this causes some microbes to survive and develop a resistance to the drug. Additionally, self-prescribing antibiotics, or taking antibiotics despite the doctor not saying so, also aid in developing a microbe’s drug resistance.
Treatments and Preventions
There are currently no known treatments for antibiotic resistance. However, there are several ways to prevent antibiotic resistance:
- Never self-prescribe. Make sure that all the antibiotics you take in are ones which a medical professional asked you to take.
- Follow the doctor’s orders. Always complete the prescribed number of pills, days, as well as frequency which the doctor advised you.
- Never share your prescribed medicine with other people. Even if you think that it may also aid in curing the other person. More often than not, this may cause detrimental effects.
- Get recommended vaccinations to reduce the risk of needing to take medication.