Antibiotics and NICE…

Well, here we go again – the bean-counters at NICE are fucking with people’s lives once more.

Doctors are now instructed, when patients present with respiratory infections, sore throats or colds, not to prescribe antibiotics but to tell the patient to go home, take pain killers, and only come back if the problem doesn’t go away or gets worse. Getting worse may well be inevitable as, of course, pain-killers don’t actually have any curative properties whatsoever. If I have a respiratory infection, the last thing in the world that I need is bloody Paracetamol!!

Nice, for once, are honest about this being a money-saving exercise, though they do mumble something about it reducing the incidence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Bollocks – it will result in a rise, as people with zero medical knowledge start buying, and misusing, their own antibiotics.

OK, anyone who actually has any functioning brain cells knows that antibiotics don’t work for colds, flu or other virus infections, but they can militate against secondary bacterial infections in these cases.

I have COPD and I’m extremely prone to respiratory bacterial infections, yet for may years I have only been able to get antibiotics after submitting a sputum sample for a lab test (it doesn’t need a test – you can tell by the stink that it’s infected!). Then I have to wait for a week – getting worse – until I get the results. It seems that now this delay is being extended to all patients, but without the benefits of a sputum test. This, of course, means that a great many of them will  get worse before anyone decides to investigate. If, then, they have to wait for a sputum test for a further week, the infection will have become so severe and so  deeply entrenched it will take more antibiotics to get rid of it than it would have if they’d been prescribed at the outset, as I know only too well from personal experience.

There is no way that this latest interference from NICE will do anything to improve the health of the patient, especially if, like me, antibiotics are an essential resource. But, hey, when did NICE ever give a shit for the patient? As long as they can save money, they’re happy…

For four years, as I’ve said here elsewhere, I’ve bought my own antibiotics, which are taken in accordance with the GOLD guidleines, because it has been impossible to get antibiotics prescribed in adequate amounts, and promptly, since about 2003, but I didn’t know I could legally import my own until 2004, since when I’ve never looked back.

The thing is, I have almost a lifetime’s experience of antibiotics, plus an in-depth knowledge of my COPD (I suspect I know more than my doctor on this subject), and I know very well what I’m doing, but thanks to NICE many thousands of people are likely to buy antibiotics online, with no real idea what to do with them, which can be very dangerous – these things are potent drugs, not Smarties.

However, as there are many dodgy retailers online, selling substandard drugs and/or at absurdly high prices, I thought I’d tell you where I get mine. The first two are, essentially, the same organisation, though stock levels and prices can vary.

Freedom Pharmacy

USA Discreet Meds

Inhouse Pharmacy

The latter’s prices include shipping charges, the others are extra. Delivery is about 10 days, though can take up to 28 days. I have been using all three for 4 years, and have had no problems. Be aware that shipments over £18 in value will attract VAT, and the Post Office will screw you for a further £8 for collecting this which, to my mind is a colossal rip-off – almost all UK traders collect VAT on behalf of the government, but only the Post Office is allowed to charge through the nose for the privilege!

I would strongly recommend that, if you have no medical knowledge, you do NOT buy your own drugs. If, though, like me, you’ve taken the trouble to ensure that you are well-informed about your illness and its treatment, then you should be fine. I’ve certainly never been healthier, as far as my COPD is concerned. After a lifetime blighted by repeated respiratory infections I have had only 2 in 4 years that needed medical intervention. Every other infection I have been able to nip in the bud before it became established.

Note: Always take a full course of antibiotics (three times a day for a week at least, in the case of my Amoxyl), and, if you buy in bulk, keep them in the fridge. With drugs, three times a day – or whatever – means three times in 24 hours, not in the waking day. This may mean you have to set the alarm to wake you in the middle of the night, or at least early in the morning. Tough!

Disclaimer: I accept no responsibility for anyone doing anything dumb as a result of this information! You’re on your own…

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3 thoughts on “Antibiotics and NICE…

  1. Hi,
    I found you on a blog site for bronchiectasis,I live in the U S
    but grew up in Scotland. I have had bronchiecasis for 40 yrs
    we don’t have a national health plan it is mostly private insurance. I understand what you are saying about the attitude towards anti biotics, I had a doctor a pulmonologist
    who did not like to give anti biotics his big thing was inhalers
    which I hate using and they don’t help me much. I found a wonderful infectious disease doctor who has no problem giving out anti biotics,right now I am on a very expensive one
    called Tobramyicin, it is taken through an nebulizer,it is very helpful,I don’t know if it is available in the U K. I am 72yrs old
    and ride a bicycle 150 miles a week. I have great empathy for anyone who has to live with this disease it takes a lot of courage at times, no one knows how hard it is for us,and modern medicine has little to offer.
    good luck
    Charlie…

  2. Hi Charlie,

    It never ceases to amaze me how far links to my health-related posts have travelled. . .

    I’ve been arguing for inhaled antibiotics for decades – the idea makes perfect sense to me – but they seem not to be available here.

    I have a reservoir of infection in my lungs that, under normal circumstances, is apparently sealed off from the healthy areas. However, with intense or prolonged exercise (a backpacking trip would invariably do the job when was younger), the seal breaks down and the crap infects the healthy parts of my lungs. This would mean that a fortnight spent backpacking was almost immediately followed by a couple of week’s sick leave, which did nothing for my popularity with my employer. It always seemed to me that inhaled antibiotics would tackle this problem at source.

    I can understand why inhalers did nothing for your bronchiectasis, as the lung damage is mainly mechanical and can’t be reversed, as the inflammation of asthma can, by the use of inhalers. Mind you, a potent steroid inhaler may well be of some benefit during exacerbations

    I’m also finding, as I get older, that doctors have less and less knowledge of bronchiectasis, which is bad news as although the causes of mine are now relatively rare, there are still plenty of other potential causes around.

  3. hello i have just read your bit on doctors nice copd and antibiotics you are so right until you get a doctor who understands you are lost,
    smoker go away and die, i am possertive but over the last 18 months i have been stugeling to get the right antibiotic this week i have craked it but i have had to live at the gp’s every week
    interestingly enough i had got as far as researching the subject while being unable to go very far and i am with you it makes sense to inhale them,

    have you had an thing to do with salt therapy halo etc

    i would be interested to know,

    my best friend had the same problem but he died last year so do net get to comunicate with any one wants to live

    regards richard

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