Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Join

Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Antimicrobial resistance

Antibiotic OTC treatments for sore throat could be fuelling antimicrobial resistance, researchers warn

Researchers found that some over-the-counter antibiotics used in sore throat preparations are not sufficiently concentrated to prevent growth of common human pathogens but are enabling these pathogens to develop resistance, raising doubts about the validity of their use.

Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases / CDC

Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases / CDC

Researchers were able to demonstrate decreasing susceptibility to several antibiotics in the three pathogens: Staphylococcus aureus (pictured); Acinetobacter baumannii; and Streptococcus pyogenes

Non-antibiotic containing over-the-counter (OTC) treatments should be considered for the symptomatic management of sore throat to help protect against Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), researchers have recommended.

Researchers from the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Cardiff University carried out a study to understand the development of bacterial resistance to locally delivered antibiotics (gramicidin, neomycin, bacitracin and tyrothricin) commonly used in OTC sore throat medicines, and to measure possible emerging cross-resistance to different classes of antibiotics.

They examined four species of bacteria in which Antibiotic resistance is considered a widespread problem: Staphylococcus aureusAcinetobacter baumanniiStreptococcus pyogenes; and Haemophilus influenza.

Cultures of each species were exposed to decreasing concentrations of antibiotic for 24 hours at human body temperature (37°C), and surviving bacteria were sub-cultured and tested for antibiotic susceptibility.

H. influenza was unable to grow in any of the antibiotics and concentrations tested, but the researchers were able to demonstrate decreasing susceptibility to several antibiotics in the other three pathogens.

For example, S. aureus was able to grow in the presence of gramicidin and bacitracin after 24 hours and 144 hours, respectively, at concentrations that were the same, or higher, than those found in commercially available OTC medicines. In addition, S. aureus grown in the presence of bacitracin also decreased its susceptibility to other antibiotics, including gentamicin, indicating that it had developed cross-resistance. 

“We were concerned to find that some of the OTC antibiotics used in sore throat preparations were not sufficiently concentrated to prevent growth of common human pathogens and are enabling these pathogens to develop resistance,” said Adrian Shephard from Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare Ltd, who commissioned the study. 

”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.”

The researchers, who will present at the 2019 European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases in Amsterdam on 13–16 April 2019, said that given the global drive to tackle AMR and to minimise the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, the findings raise doubt about the validity of continued use of topical OTC antibiotics for primarily viral and self-limiting sore throat and that non-antibiotic containing treatments should be considered instead.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206417

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Patient Care in Community Practice

    Patient Care in Community Practice

    Patient Care in Community Practice is a unique, practical guide for healthcare professionals or carers. Covers a range of non-medicinal products suitable for use at home.

    £22.00Buy now
  • Clinical Pharmacokinetics

    Clinical Pharmacokinetics

    A practical guide to the use of pharmacokinetic principles in clinical practice. Includes case studies with questions and answers.

    £33.00Buy now
  • Strategic Medicines Management

    Strategic Medicines Management

    A practical guide to influencing the availability of medicines, and policies of their use. Focuses on the strategic elements of medicines management.

    £33.00Buy now
  • Introduction to Renal Therapeutics

    Introduction to Renal Therapeutics

    Introduction to Renal Therapeutics covers all aspects of drug use in renal failure. Shows the role of the pharmacist in patient care for chronic kidney disease.

    £38.00Buy now
  • Drugs and the Liver

    Drugs and the Liver

    Drugs and the Liver assists practitioners in making pragmatic choices for their patients. It enables you to assess liver function and covers the principles of drug use in liver disease.

    £38.00Buy now

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.