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Over-the-counter (OTC) lozenges for a sore throat may be fueling the rise of superbugs, research suggests.
A study found antibiotics added to non-prescriptions remedies often fail to wipe out the bacteria causing a patient's symptoms.
Researchers - Bacteria - Species - Resistance
Researchers worry this will strengthen bacteria and enable the species to evolve antibiotic resistance.
The research was carried out by Cardiff University and commissioned by Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare.
Work - Doubt - OTC - Availability - Antibiotics
'Our work raises doubt about the continued OTC availability of these antibiotics for the treatment of sore throats, especially considering the primarily viral nature of the condition,' Mr Adrian Shephard, of Reckitt Benckiser, said.
Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections, however, many mistakenly believe the drugs will cure viruses. This is concerning because incorrectly treating infections could make life-threatening bacteria harder to kill.
Study - Fears - Resistance - Drugs - Bacteria
The study comes amid growing fears of antibiotic resistance - partially driven by the unnecessary doling out of the drugs - which has turned once harmless bacteria into superbugs.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned if nothing is done we are heading towards a 'post-antibiotic' era. In the US alone, around 2million become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year, resulting in at least 23,000 deaths.
Pneumonia - Tuberculosis - Gonorrhoea - Salmonellosis - Number
Pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis are among the growing number of infections that are becoming harder to treat.
To uncover the role antibiotics in OTC medicines play, the researchers analysed four species of bacteria that are known to be developing resistance to commonly-used antibiotics.
Cultures - Species - Staphylococcus - Aureus - Acinetobacter
Cultures were taken of the species Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter baumannii, Streptococcus pyogenes and Haemophilus influenza.
These were then exposed to decreasing concentrations of gramicidin, neomycin, bacitracin and tyrothricin for 24 hours at human body temperature (37°C/98.6°F).
Bacteria - Susceptibility
And the surviving bacteria were then tested for their antibiotic susceptibility.
The researchers were looking for whether the standard concentrations of antibiotics used in OTC drugs are above the minimum inhibitory...
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