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Justifying antibiotics prescription can help rationalise use, further evidence-based medicine: Experts

Justifying antibiotics prescription can help rationalise use, further evidence-based medicine: Experts
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New Delhi, Jan 20 (PTI) With the Union Health Ministry urging doctors to mandatorily mention indications and reasons for justification while prescribing antibiotics, infectious disease specialists say the initiative can help in rationalising antimicrobial usage and avoid indiscriminate consumption.

The practice could also help further an evidence-based approach in medicine, along with improving patient outcomes, and curbing treatment costs and unwarranted side effects, they said.

“Prescribers have to think and document the rationale before prescribing antimicrobials… This will help in the rational prescribing of antimicrobials and avoiding injudicious, indiscriminate usage,” infectious disease specialist and senior consultant at the Yashoda Super Speciality Hospital in Kaushambi Dr Chhavi Gupta told PTI.

In a letter to all doctors in medical colleges and medical associations on January 1, Director General of Health Services Dr Atul Goel urged them to make it a mandatory practice to write indications, reasons or justifications while prescribing antimicrobials.

He also appealed to all pharmacists to strictly implement Schedule H and H1 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules and stop the over-the-counter sale of antibiotics and sell them only on the prescription of a qualified doctor.

Asked about the move, Dr Mahua Kapoor Dasgupta, director of medical affairs at HaystackAnalytics, a genomics-based diagnostics solutions provider incubated at IIT-Bombay, said it will enable the healthcare ecosystem to design strategies aimed at improving diagnostics, allowing a caregiver to justify the prescribed antimicrobial.

Regular audits and checks will still be necessary to scrutinise the justifications provided, Gupta added.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the top global public health threats facing humanity, the director general of health services said in the letter addressed to all doctors of medical colleges and all medical associations.

AMR happens when drugs designed to kill infectious bacteria and fungi are rendered ineffective because the microbes have evolved and developed an ability to defeat these drugs.

“With few new antibiotics in the research and development pipeline, prudent antibiotic use is the only option to delay the development of resistance,” Goel wrote.


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