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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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In this Lancet-published study, a causal link is proven between antibiotic prescription and antibiotic resistance. This research should be a strong warning to physicians of the consequences of inappropriate and uncontrolled antibiotic prescribing. In this randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial clarithromycin and azithromycin were used to investigate the direct effect of antibiotic exposure on resistance in the oral streptococcal flora of healthy volunteers. Both drugs significantly increased the proportion of antibiotic-resistant bacteria compared with placebo at all time points studied, but the peak was just after treatment ended, the researchers said.

The results show that the longer half-life drug -- Zithromax -- tended to select for more resistance, while the short-acting medication, Biaxin, selected for higher resistance, the researchers noted. Also, the effect of a single course of antibiotics was felt for as much as 180 days after treatment ended, they said. "Physicians should take into account the striking ecological side-effects of antibiotics when prescribing such drugs to their patients," the researchers concluded.

Many practitioners have been convinced for a long time that the use of antibiotics is what creates antibiotic resistance. This is conclusively driven home by this randomized controlled trial-the epitome of scientific evidence. Once and for all here is unassailable proof that physicians harm through the indiscriminate prescription of antibiotics. This causal link can no longer be denied, ignored, or trivialized.

The finding should spur the medical community to "get on and do something about it before the antibiotic era finally grinds to its apocalyptic halt," said Stephanie Dancer, M.D., of Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, an authority on antibiotic resistance.The key message for physicians and other health-care workers is "antibiotic prescribing affects the patient, their environment, and all the people that come into contact with that patient or with their environment," Dr. Dancer said in an accompanying comment.

Antibiotic resistance basically means that, if you truly need one, the drug won't work because the bacteria have built up a resistance and can't be affected. Several areas of care have been demonstrated to be unresponsive to antibiotics-ear infections, sinus infections, colds, etc. The next time your doctor recommends an antibiotic for one of these situations remember this and choose something effective-the indicated homeopathic remedy, the Vitamin C protocol (Nov. 2005 Naturopathic News), or perhaps just rest.

Research Source: Malhotra-Kumar S, Lammens C, Coenen S, et al. Effect of azithromycin and clarithromycin therapy on pharyngeal carriage of macrolide-resistant streptococci in healthy volunteers: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Lancet 2007;369(9560):482-490.


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