Antimicrobial drug resistance is the ability for microbes to grow in the presence of drugs that usually inhibit their growth or kills them. In other words, pathogens can still survive and grow exponentially even when being treated by drugs that usually kill them. Significantly, the cause leading to antimicrobial drug resistance is the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, and some geographical predisposition. Antimicrobial drug resistance is most prevalent in underdeveloped countries where medication is not affordable to most communities or consumption of counterfeit drugs, all of which consequentially makes the microbes or “bugs” more powerful. Once the bug is more potent, one would either need a higher dose or must be commenced with an alternative treatment due to resistance. On the other hand, overusing any antibiotic can make the immune system indifferent to the drug and not have any effect on the microbe. Moreover these geographical regions are predisposed to sub-standard living conditions such as impure drinking water and other environmental hazards. These conditions can often make one resistant to vaccines or other antibiotic treatments, thereby making it more difficult to treat some diseases.
A high percentage of hospital-acquired infections are caused by highly resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Resistance to earlier generation antimalarial medicines such as chloroquine is widespread in most malaria-endemic countries such as Nigeria and Southeast Asia. Seventy percent of the bacteria causing such infections are resistant to at least one drug commonly used to treat these infections.
Nonetheless, according to medical experts, if further action is not taken to eradicate antimicrobial resistance within the next twenty years, people may die from minor surgeries because they were unable to fight ordinary infections. For some patients affected by drug resistance, it may be difficult to treat and maintain common communicable diseases such as cold, cough, and flu. In more severe cases involving surgery or recovery from chronic diseases, it would be difficult to increase chances of recovery due to growing infections that occur during intense treatment, which can be deleterious or even fatal.
Currently, there have been several initiatives to help reduce the onset of antimicrobial drug resistance such as the innovation in the development of antibiotics. Some pharmaceutical companies are building their brand so that the active ingredient may be as selective to the bacteria as possible. Other methods include treatment strategies to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance and preserve the effectiveness of existing antimicrobials. Some healthcare professionals such as pharmacists simply advise patients to adhere to doctor’s regimen and take antibiotics when instructed to do so or when necessary. In addition, pharmacists advise that patients affected by drug resistance must first consult with the primary care physicians or even consultation with their local community pharmacist if they wish to use over the counter drugs for mild cough, colds, pain, or flu. If these strategies are effectively implemented, it will strengthen the roles of pharmacists as healthcare providers and more importantly alleviate antimicrobial drug resistance.