With an aim to curb antibiotic resistance, the World Health Organization (WHO) has revised the protocol for antibiotics. This revision is the biggest such revision of the antibiotics section in the 40-year history of the essential medicines list (EML).
WHO has divided the drugs into three categories — access, watch and reserve. It has also specified which category of drugs are to be used for treating common ailments and which are to be used to treat complicated diseases.
As per the classification, commonly used antibiotics will be placed under the ‘access’ category. WHO has recommended that the antibiotics in this category be made available at all times as a treatment for a wide range of common infections. The drugs that fall under this category includes drugs such as amoxicillin which is widely-used for treating infections such as pneumonia.
Second line of antibiotics which are slightly potent will be placed under ‘watch‘ category. WHO recommends that the drugs coming under this category be prescribed less to avoid further development of resistance. Example of drug that falls under this category is Ciprofloxacin, which is used to treat cystitis and upper respiratory tract infections like bacterial sinusitis and bacterial bronchitis.
The highly potent drugs which should be used only as a last resort will be placed under the ‘reserve’ category. WHO recommends that these drugs be used only when all other alternatives failed such as life-threatening infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, it succeeded the Health Organization, which was an agency of the League of Nations. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and its headquarters is located at Geneva. WHO flag features the Rod of Asclepius as a symbol for healing.