Is the Antibiotic Era Coming to an End?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are now acknowledging that humankind is entering the post-antibiotic era – a time when something as simple as a cut or sore throat may once again be lethal, due to dramatic increases in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

How did we get here?

Well, to quote Dr. Ron Whitmont, MD…

“Antibiotics are another example of our over-reliance on drugs.  With more than 85 antibiotic prescriptions written for every 100 people in 2014, these drugs are recklessly overused.[i]Even the CDC believes that they are unnecessary more than half of the times they are prescribed.[ii]  These drugs accumulate in food[iii]and water supplies,[iv]and are responsible for devastating environmental damage[v]in addition to the human illness that they promote.[vi]  The overuse of these drugs damages the human microbiome,[vii]and the immune system[viii]directly causing a host of long-term drug caused illnesses including allergies,[ix]asthma,[x]inflammatory bowel disease,[xi]behavioral problems,[xii]autoimmunity[xiii]and cancer.[xiv]

The overuse and abuse of antibiotics, in the human and especially domesticated animal population, is singlehandedly responsible for the epidemic of antibiotic-resistant organisms, which killed more than 700,000 people in 2014, and is expected to kill more than 10 million and add more than $100 trillion to medical costsby 2050.[xv]

This situation is undeniably scary.

Are there reliable treatment alternatives to antibiotics?

Epidemiological and clinical evidence point to homeopathy as a potentially life-saving option to current pharmacological drugs.

What does the research show?

There are too many studies on this topic to name them all.  For our purposes here, we will look at just a few.

The largest comparative effectiveness study of homeopathy published to date is the “EPI3 study” published in 2014. This French study was a nationwide research project coordinated by the Department of Pharmacoepidemiology at the University of Bordeaux. It included 6,379 patients from 804 medical practices.

One facet of the EPI3 study demonstrated that patients who consult family physicians certified in homeopathy use significantly fewerantibiotics as well as anti-fever/anti-inflammatory drugs for upper respiratory tract infections than those who relied on family physicians who prescribe only conventional medications, with similar outcomes xvi.  The EPI3 study also concluded that health expenditures are 20% less for patients consulting homeopathic family physiciansin France compared to conventional family physicians xvii.

Another multinational comparative effectiveness study led by the American physician Dr. David Rileyinvolved 30 doctors, at six clinical sites in four countries, treating patients with acute respiratoryproblems. Response at 14 days was 82.6% for homeopathy compared to 68% for conventional treatment. The rate of adverse events for conventional treatment was 22.3%, versus 7.8% for homeopathy.A replication of this study included 1,577 patients, of whom 857 received homeopathic and 720 conventional treatment: improvement was significantly faster with homeopathy.xviii, xix

Let’s look at one more study just to make the point.

Otitis media (otherwise known as an ear infection) is common in small children, and physicians often prescribe antibiotics to treat these cases.  Researchers at the University of Washington were curious to know whether homeopathy might be an effective alternative for these children and conducted a randomized double blind placebo controlled pilot study to find out.  They concluded their study with this finding: “These results suggest that there is a positive treatment effect of homeopathy when compared with placebo in acute otitis media.”xx

And there’s so much more…

Reliable and extensive clinical and public health records have also been carefully examined internationally, looking for evidence of homeopathic medicine’s efficacy during some of the deadliest epidemics of the past 200 years. The main findings of this research show that when homeopathic medicine was employed during these deadly events, both to treat the sick and when given preventatively among the still-healthy population, mortality rates were routinely very low. This constancy remained regardless of the homeopathic physician, time, place or type of epidemical disease, including diseases carrying a high mortality rate, such as cholera, smallpox, diphtheria, typhoid fever, yellow fever, influenza and pneumoniaxxi.

Given all of these facts, if you do get an infection, its time to consider homeopathy as your first line of defense…. and antibiotics as “Plan B.”Admittedly, using antibiotics is “easier” in many ways than using homeopathy. Antibiotics are prescribed for the specific disease one has (ie, Cipro for a urinary tract infection, Amoxicillin for a strep throat) and a Dr. needs only about 4 minutes with you to assess which prescription is indicated. Homeopathy, on the other hand, is prescribed for theperson.Therefore,if there are 10 women with a UTI we could say with pretty high confidence that there would be 10 different remedies prescribed. Because homeopathy treats the person and not the disease, finding the appropriate remedyrequires gathering and analyzing the specific symptoms manifested by the patient with the infection, and selecting a remedy based on that. The options here are few – you either find a good homeopath, or learn a bit of homeopathy yourself!

In a more general sense, though, thetime has come to better educate ourselves and take more responsibility for our healthoverall.  Building a strong immune systemby eating well (a mostly plant-based diet), sleeping enough(7-8 hours for most adults), exercising(anything is better than nothing!), managing stress and taking a few well-chosen supplements (this is best individualized, but for starters, Vitamin D is essentialfor a healthy immune response – and deficiency is rampant!) willhelp us be more resilient against microbes in the first place.

Why not make homeopathy a “Plan A” medicine for your family?More and more families around the worldare increasingly saying “YES!”

[i]http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/community/pdfs/annual-reportsummary_2014.pdf

[ii]http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/community/programs-measurement/measuring-antibiotic-prescribing.html

[iii]The Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animals Threatens Public Health. ConsumersUnion
POLICY & ACTION FROM CONSUMER REPORTS.

http://consumersunion.org/news/the-overuse-of-antibiotics-in-food-animals-threatens-public-health-2/

[iv]Harvard Health Letter.  Drugs in the water.  June 2011. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/drugs-in-the-water

[v]Larsson DGJ. Antibiotics in the environment; Ups J Med Sci. 2014 May; 119(2): 108–112.

Published online 2014 May 19. doi:  10.3109/03009734.2014.896438

[vi]Brody JE.  Popular Antibiotics May Carry Serious Side Effects.  NYTimes Sept 22, 2012. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/popular-antibiotics-may-carry-serious-side-effects/

 

[vii]Langdon A, Crook N, Dantas G. The effects of antibiotics on the microbiome throughout development and alternative approaches for therapeutic modulation. Genome Medicine20168:39  DOI: 10.1186/s13073-016-0294-z

[viii]Nield D. Antibiotics Found to Cause Immune System Damage And Reduce Brain Cell Growth

When good drugs go bad. Science Alert; 26 May 2016. https://www.sciencealert.com/side-effects-from-antibiotics-include-immune-system-damage-and-fewer-brain-cells-study-shows

[ix]Esser-von Bierren J, Harris, N. Microbiome and Allergy; Encyclopedia of Immunobiology 5:336–345. Oxford: Academic Press, 2016. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-374279-7.16005-9

[x]Kozyrskyj ALErnst PBecker AB.Increased risk of childhood asthma from antibiotic use in early life.  Chest. 2007 Jun;131(6):1753-9. Epub 2007 Apr 5. DOI:10.1378/chest.06-3008

[xi]Greenblum S, Turnbaugh PJ, Borenstein E. Metagenomic systems biology of the human gut microbiome reveals topological shifts associated with obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. PNAS;109(2): 594–599. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1116053109

[xii]Ezenwa VO, Gerardo NM, Inouye DW, et al. Animal Behavior and the Microbiome. Science;338(6104): 198-199.  DOI: 10.1126/science.1227412

[xiii]Cherepahina N, Shogenov Z, Bocharova M, et al. Microbiome and Autoimmunity. InTech,  ISBN 978-953-51-1028-6, Published: March 13, 2013.  DOI: 10.5772/54128

[xiv]Bultman SJ. Emerging roles of the microbiome in cancer, Carcinogenesis (2014) 35 (2): 249-255.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgt392

[xv]http://www.cnbc.com/2014/12/11/drug-resistance-to-kill-more-than-cancer-by-2050-study.html

xvi, Grimaldi-Bensouda L, Begaud B, Rossignol M, Avouac B, Lert F, et al. (2014) Management of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections by Different Medical Practices, Including Homeopathy, and Consumption of Antibiotics in Primary Care: The EPI3 Cohort Study in France 2007–2008. PLoS ONE 9(3): e89990. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089990

xvii, Colas A, Danno K, Tabar C, Ehreth J, Duru G.  Economic Impact of Homeopathic Practice in General Medicine In France. Health Economics Review (2015) 5:18. DOI 10.1186/s13561-015-0055-5

[xv]iii Riley D, Fischer M, Singh B, et al. (2001). Homeopathy and Conventional Medicine: An Outcomes Study Comparing Effectiveness in a Primary Care Setting. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 7:149–159.

xix, Haidvogl M Riley D, Heger M et al.  Homeopathic and conventional treatment for acute respiratory and ear complaints: A comparative study on outcome in the primary care settingBMC Complement Altern Med. 2007; 7: 7. doi: 

xx, JacobsJ, Springer DA et al. Homeopathic treatment of acute otitis media in children: a preliminary randomized placebo-controlled trial. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 2001, 20: 177-83. 

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