On October 26th, 2013, the Daily Mail published an article where Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, a high-ranking official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, declared in an interview with PBS that the age of antibiotics has come to an end. We asked Peoples naturopathic doctor* Amy Neuzil to draft a response for our readers and customers to this unsettling article in hopes that she could provide a holistic perspective to the idea that antibiotics have run their course. This is her response:
“Maybe it is the end of the age of antibiotics, so let’s start the age of probiotics!
Dr. Arjun Srinivasan has notably said that ‘we’ve reached the end of antibiotics’ which, in some ways, is true. The growing threat of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria is a serious problem which will certainly change the way we practice medicine. Essentially, Dr. Srinivasan has recognized that overuse and misuse of antibiotics in both healthcare and in the livestock animals in our food supply have lead to this crisis, and that change is necessary for us to preserve the antibiotic strains which are still effective.
I tend to agree with Dr. Srinivasan in that the ‘age of antibiotics’ is over. No longer can we ethically throw antibiotics at every little sneeze and sniffle and give them out left and right for uncomplicated procedures or self-limiting illness. We must re-educate our doctors and our patients to turn to other resources before they resort to antibiotics. It is important for the public to help in the prevention of bacterial illness, and for patients to not seek antibiotics for every little cold and flu. The bottom line is that colds, flus, ear infections and a large portion of the illnesses we have been giving antibiotics for are actually viral and don’t respond anyway – they’re just prescribed so that you can leave the doctors office with a prescription.
In this new age, antibiotics will be reserved as a therapy of last-resort, not as a front-line treatment and it will be important for us to use other techniques for simple illness. We will use antibiotics only when illnesses become life-threatening. It will also be important for all of us to learn to use probiotics effectively as a tool to prevent simple infections. Supporting beneficial bacteria in our guts, on our skin and in our oral cavities can help us to maintain good defenses against some of the most common infections for which antibiotics are given. So out with the antibiotics and in with the probiotics!”
Quoted response by Amy Neuzil, ND*. Amy is available for consultation at Peoples Wellness Center. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of Peoples Rx – Austin’s Favorite Pharmacy.
*Naturopathic doctors not currently licensed in the state of Texas.