MRSA and antibiotics – an opinion…

This is a revised (for clarity and to update it), version of a post of the same name from a couple of years ago. Parts of this post – for the third time today –  appear in others, in slightly different forms. I make no apology for this as people don’t always read other posts, or read them in sequence, so may have missed the information.

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We are routinely told that one of the reasons for the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections like MRSA, in hospitals, is the over–prescribing of antibiotics. As someone whose life has depended on antibiotics (I have Stage 4 COPD), for as long as they’ve been available to the public (which is longer than most people realise – they date from about 1953, when Penicillin became widely available – prior to that, and afterwards too, as it was cheaper, the sulphonamide drug M&B kept me alive), I’m not convinced.

Whenever I’ve been admitted to hospital – or even when I’ve hung around outpatients for too long (time was when an OPD visit would tie up half a day, easily) – I’ve always Continue reading

Antibiotics – no half-measures

From my search-engine slush-pile “can you cut an antibiotic in half and take half a dose?”.

Well, you can, but whether you should is a whole different question – and depends very much on the type of tablet (capsules are out). If a tablet is scored, it’s safe to assume that you can cut it, otherwise no – you may be cutting a sustained-release (aka timed-release), product, rendering it’s controlled effect useless and lessening its efficacy. But even if it’s safe to do so, why would you want to?

The dosage of antibiotics is important, sometimes Continue reading

Be careful with antibiotics – finish the course…

Another selection from my search engine list:-  “Can I take one day’s worth of antibiotics?” to which the only sensible answer is not if you have the brains god gave a gopher. I mean, why the hell would you?

One day’s worth of antibiotics will do absolutely nothing for you. It won’t even harm you, unfortunately (unless you’re allergic), as such idiocy surely deserves payback. The only exception to this Continue reading

Cutting antibiotics by half – NICE strike again…

NICE want to cut the prescribing of antibiotics by half. That is, instead of getting a week’s worth, you’ll get just a few days when your lungs are full of stinking crap (or maybe you’ll get seven days, and half the strength? Who the hell knows with these buggers?). Does that fill you with confidence? It fills me with despair.

After a lifetime of asthma and bronchiectasis I now have severe COPD (I’ve never smoked). My history is one of repeated respiratory infection – once every 4-6 weeks on average throughout my adult life. The idea of antibiotic therapy being halved is absurd and dangerous.

From about 2004, it became impossible to get antibiotic treatment for an infection without Continue reading

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…