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Antibiotic resistance: a real problem for the 21st century

30 November 2021

When the expression “too much of a good thing is bad” was coined, antibiotics probably had not even been invented yet. Nevertheless, antibiotic resistance – accelerated by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics – is a relevant issue; so much that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control instated the European Antibiotics Awareness Day (EAAD) taking place yearly on November 18th.

WHY ANTIBIOTIC TREATMENT IS NOT ALWAYS THE SOLUTION  

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Antibiotic treatments are indeed an effective way to eradicate bacterial infections, but using them as long-term prophylaxis to prevent infections can lead to an impairment of the normal microbiota of the urinary tract. Ultimately, the consistent use and abuse of antibiotics can lead to the development of multidrug-resistant micro-organisms. Unfortunately, even as new treatments and therapies are discovered and patented, antibiotics are still prescribed with far more frequency as a “shortcut”. It is important to remember however, that most antibiotics have been developed several years, if not decades, ago and their formulations are very rarely updated. Moreover, no further effective active ingredients have been discovered recently. Therefore, although antibiotics have played a key role in defeating life-threatening diseases in the past, the most recent non-antibiotic therapies can be an effective form of prevention and a valid alternative to antibiotical prevention.

Indeed, prevention is better than cure: the most convenient way to reduce the need for antibiotics is through education on infection prevention and control, such as vaccination, personal hygiene, food hygiene and practicing safer sex.  Tackling antibiotic resistance is a high priority also for WHO (World Health Organization), so much that in May 2015, the World Health Assembly endorsed a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance. Reducing the incidence of infections is one the 5 strategic objectives of the Global action plan on antimicrobial resistance, which aims to give access to prevention and treatment of infectious diseases with safe and effective therapies, without the need of antibiotics.

IBSA’S INNOVATION IN THE URO-GYNAECOLOGICAL FIELD

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Reducing the incidence of infection – thus avoiding the overuse of antibiotics – is the main goal of IBSA’s portfolio in uro-gynaecology. Worldwide, urinary tract infections are one of the most common indications for antimicrobial prescriptions and it is such a widespread issue that the European Association of Urology (EAU) has provided specific guidelines on urological infections, such as using immunoactive prophylaxis to reduce recurrent UTI in all age groups, to address the important public health aspects of infection control and antimicrobial stewardship.  UTIs (urinary tract infections) can greatly affect people's quality of life, women in particular. In its portfolio, IBSA includes, among others, a specific therapy to prevent and/or reduce the occurrence of infections, aimed at offering an alternative to long-term antibiotics prophylaxis. Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs)-therapy is a specific therapy which, according to literature, is effective and safe in the management of patients with recurrent UTIs, decreasing the number of episodes and improving adherence to antimicrobial stewardship.  As a company with a patient-centred approach, IBSA has developed several solutions with the goal of providing therapies with improved technologies that can have a major positive impact on people’s life.

We are especially committed to bring innovation and research to departments that are often overlooked by the large pharmaceutical companies, in the uro-gynaecological field and beyond, always starting from the real needs of individuals, in order to improve their quality of life.

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