Ciprofloxacin is the new kid on the block. For many years Ampiclox especially Beecham was the poster drug for antibiotic abuse.
From those who believed it was a contraceptive, could prevent sexually transmitted infections, heal withlows and absesses (Popularly called boils).
The interesting thing was how all these could be achieved with just one capsule of Ampiclox 500mg.
We had an interesting chat with Ampiclox 500
These days Ampiclox is getting really good competition from Ciprofloxacin (an antibiotic belonging to the class of fluoroquinolones) how ? you might wonder!
Ciprofloxacin is a broad spectrum antibiotics, this means that it is capable of working for a wide range of bacterial infections and this can be an advantage. However its misuse especially when unnecessary can result in reduced effectiveness.
Malaria and Typhoid always together?
Its very common to hear patients insist that they want to treat typhoid fever alongside malaria because they believe it always comes together.
Even on speaking to a pharmacist who informs them that typhoid fever is not as common they still insist.
The truth is that the absence of classical symptoms like diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting already indicates that an individual cannot have typhoid fever.
Despite the above information, many patients insist on taking antibiotics for a non-existent typhoid.
Ciprofloxacin is the drug of choice here especially as it is not so expensive compared to other members of the ‘’floxacin’’ (quinolone) class.
These practice is now so widespread since Ciprofloxacin is a relatively cheap antibiotic. We earlier described it as broad spectrum so it is helpful for treating many other serious infections.
Important to add and at a reasonable cost but that becomes really difficult if used wrongly by a lot of people.
Taking an antibiotic unnecessarily is basically exposing the antibiotic to these bacteria and giving the bacteria enough time and several opportunities to learn how to bypass the antibiotic.
Once these bacteria achieve that the drug no longer works and we have what experts call antimicrobial resistance.
The Real Impact of Antibiotic Misuse
Imagine that instead of using Ciprofloxacin which can cost less than 1000 naira for a urinary tract infection, a patient has to get another antibiotic.
Which probably could cost 3 times more to treat the same infection simply they abused Ciprofloxacin on earlier occasions.
Or the patient now has to be admitted to take injections when Ciprofloxacin taken orally for a few days would have done the magic.
This is real life impact of abusing antibiotics. In more serious cases getting an antibiotic that would work gets more difficult.
When Ciprofloxacin stops working the about 4 other members of the ’’floxacin’’ class might stop working as well for such a patient (cross resistance).
A very good number of female patients use Ciprofloxacin whenever they seem to have a vaginal infection because it appears ”effective”.
The challenge with this approach is that some infections are fungal which ciprofloxacin doesn’t work for or protozoal infections.
This is why testing to know the kind of infection before taking medications is better.
In addition, Ciprofloxacin has a number of side effects and possible adverse effects so before taking it you need to be sure that you really need it.
A better Approach
When next you feel you have typhoid speak to your pharmacist about the symptoms you have and if necessary a test will be recommended after which you can get treated if the test shows you have a typhoid infection.
Most likely you don’t have typhoid because typhoid is much more serious than most people believe it is.
Antibiotics should be taken only when necessary to get the best results and also ensure that we have antibiotics that can work when we really need them.