Opposition for Qld trial to treat UTIs with antibiotics

Thursday, 11 July, 2019

Opposition for Qld trial to treat UTIs with antibiotics

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has spoken out about a Queensland Government trial to relax the dispensing of an antibiotic to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs), saying the trial will expose the community to one of the biggest global health risks — antibiotic-resistant infections.

The Queensland Chair of the RACGP, Dr Bruce Willett, has called for the trial to be put on hold while national reviews around the levels of antibiotics in the community are conducted. He said the trial is bucking global health advice to reduce the level of antibiotics in the community, with experts predicting that global deaths due to superbugs may surge to 10 million a year by 2050 — 22,000 of those from the Oceania region.

“The science is clear and backed by the United Nations, European Union and the World Health Organization just to name a few — if we do not reduce the amount of antibiotics used we pose huge risks to our future generations,” Dr Willett said.

“As doctors, we are seriously concerned about the growing rate of infections that are antibiotic resistant. Already, 1 in 5 UTIs is resistant to the medication this trial is proposing to use.

“If a patient’s UTI is resistant to the antibiotic they are using, they can be left with an untreated condition and potentially become susceptible to a superbug.

“To make things even worse, diagnosing a UTI is not a straightforward matter that can be diagnosed in a pharmacy setting. Many sexually transmitted infections and more serious conditions like diabetes and cancer can masquerade as a UTI, so this trial poses a significant risk to patients’ health.

“Doctors across the country, including GPs, are collectively reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescribing due to the identified global health risks. We know we don’t always get it right and we’re seeking to prescribe less. Introducing more and less experienced prescribers will only exacerbate the current challenges we have with overprescribing.

“We must see the brakes put on this trial until the ‘Australia’s Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2020 and Beyond’ has been handed down by the Australian Government’s Departments of Health and Agriculture.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Sasa Komlen

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