November 14, 2017 10:53 am

Overusing antibiotics can do more harm than good: New Brunswick health-care providers

New Brunswick health providers are launching a campaign to discourage what they say is the unnecessary use of antibiotics.

Choosing Wisely New Brunswick

New Brunswick health-care providers are warning people not to overuse antibiotics.

Experts say while patients may hope for a “quick fix” during cold and flu season, antibiotics don’t work against viral infections.

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“They won’t speed up recovery and they can even do harm if taken when not needed,” said Dr. Dharm Singh, the president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, in a news release.

“We all play a part in antimicrobial stewardship and there is an urgent need to address how we are using antibiotics in the province.”

The campaign is part of a series called Choosing Wisely New Brunswick, and brings together the New Brunswick Medical Society, New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association, as well as Nurse Practitioners of New Brunswick.

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According to the province, nearly half a million prescriptions for oral antibiotics are filled in New Brunswick pharmacies each year.

But health professionals say the overuse of antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance and is threatening the ability to treat common infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and bacteria that cause pneumonia and urinary tract infections.

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“Antibiotics can cause side effects like upset stomach and can be costly,” said Andrew Brillant, president of the New Brunswick Pharmacists Association in a statement.

“They also kill off your healthy intestinal bacteria, which can allow harmful bacteria to take their place, resulting in serious infections. Use antibiotics only when you really need them.”

The new campaign includes posters, social media posts and a prescription pad for health-care providers to review with patients that explain antibiotics are not needed for infections, such as cold or flu.

The campaign coincides with Antibiotic Awareness Week, which runs from Nov. 13 to 17.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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