Slovaks use too many antibiotics

PEOPLE of Slovakia take too many antibiotics, experts say.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

During the first half of 2015, doctors prescribed more than three million antibiotics. The cost of the majority of them was covered by the health insurers. However, in some cases, it was not necessary for patients to use them.

“There is a risk of the bacteria becoming resistant to frequently used antibiotics,” said Darina Sedláková, head of the WHO office in Slovakia, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “Doctors then often prescribe stronger [antibiotics] which may have more serious side effects on patients.”

If the medication is ineffective, patients can have problems dealing with infections. This is  particularly true in cases of less immune patients or those chronically ill. In some cases the resistance from antibiotics may result in death. There are about 25,000 such cases in Europe every year, TASR wrote.

Slovakia is one of the highest consumers of antibiotics within the EU. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), about 23.6 per 1,000 Slovaks use the antibiotics every day, while in the Czech Republic it is 19 per 1,000 people and in Hungary 13.8 per 1,000 people.

“There are solutions to the excessive use of antibiotics,” said Tomáš Tesař from the Slovak Health Ministry, as quoted by TASR. This includes the vaccination against flu or pneumococcus, he added.

However, it is also necessary to support the education of professionals and also laymen. Many people are unaware that antibiotics cannot cure flu, according to Tesař.

The main cause of flu may be revealed by the CRP test, the cost of which is covered in the cases of children by all health insurers, while in the case of adults by only one. The Slovak Patient civic association carried out a survey between August and November of this year, attended by 416 respondents. Nearly 28 percent have never heard about the test, while nearly 24 percent have hardly ever heard about antibiotics resistance , TASR reported.

The association also addressed 72 general practitioners in October; of them more than 62 percent had noticed antibiotics resistance in patients. The resistant tribes however have not caused any significant complications in the treatment. About 35 percent of doctors said their patients force them to prescribe the antibiotics, according to TASR.

Additionally, nearly 60 percent of doctors say that the interest in CRP tests is appropriate. About 62 percent say they do not offer the test to patients as they have to pay for it. All respondents think that all health insurers should conver the cost of the tests, as reported by TASR.

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