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Antibiotics save lives so lets keep them working

This week is World Antimicrobial Awareness week, which highlights one of the biggest challenges to modern medicine.

And to mark the week clinicians are urging people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to return any unused anti-biotics to their local community pharmacy so they can be disposed of properly and safely.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines. This makes diseases and infections harder to treat and increases the risk of severe illnesses or death.

Drug resistance over time causes various medications such as antibiotics to become ineffective and infections become difficult or almost impossible to treat. This can occur when medication is not properly disposed of and enters our environment by, for example, being flushed down the toilet.

Amin Mitha, Deputy Director of Primary Care – Medicines Optimisation for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent ICB said: “Antibiotics are one of the wonders of modern medicine and have saved many millions of lives. But we have to manage their effectiveness and over-use and misuse will make them less effective.

“That’s why I would urge anyone who is prescribed a course of antibiotics to take them as advised, and if they have any left over to return them to their pharmacy.

“If you have unused or unwanted antibiotics, they should not be kept ‘just in case’ for another time or shared with other people. It could make them unwell.”

They should be returned to a community pharmacy which can dispose of them safely – throwing them in the bin can contaminate the environment. This can then lead to more resistant bugs affecting humans and animals and increases the growth of superbugs.

We need everyone to play their part in preserving antibiotics for the future, so taking this simple step will help protect antibiotics for everyone!

Amin Mitha talks about the importance of antibiotics


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