The Beta Lactam Antibiotics as an Empirical Therapy in a Developing Country: An Update on Their Current Status and Recommendations to Counter the Resistance against Them
Dr. Kingshuk Lahon,
Department of Pharmacology, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College
and Research Institute, Pondicherry-607402, India.
In a developing country like India, where the patients have to bear the cost of their healthcare, the microbiological culture and the sensitivity testing of each and every infection is not feasible. Moreover, there are lacunae in the data storage, management and the sharing of knowledge with respect to the microorganisms which are prevalent in the local geographical area and with respect to the antibiotics which are effective against them. Thus, an empirical therapy for treating infections is imperative in such a setting. The beta lactam antibiotics have been widely used for the empirical treatment of infections since the the discovery of penicillin. Many generations of beta lactams have been launched with, the claims of a higher sensitivity and less resistance, but their sensitivities have drastically decreased over time. Thus, the preference for beta lactams, especially the cephalosporins, as an empirical therapy, among the prescribers was justified initially, but the current sensitivity patterns do not support their empirical use in hospital and community acquired infections. There is a need for increasing the awareness and the attitudinal change among the prescribers, screening of the antibiotic prescriptions, the strict implementation of antibiotic policies in hospital settings, restricting the hospital supplies and avoiding the prescriptions of beta lactams, a regular census of the local sensitivity patterns to formulate and update the antibiotic policies, upgradation of the laboratory facilities for a better and faster detection of the isolates, proper collection, analyses and sharing of the data and the encouragement of the research and development of newer antibiotics with novel mechanisms of action.