KILLER MRSA ALERT; Antibiotic Move Will Let Bug Spread, Warns Doc

Article excerpt

Byline: By MATT WITHERS

MAKING antibiotics available over the chemist's counter will fuel the spread of MRSA, a top Welsh medic has warned.

Health chiefs are currently deciding whether trimethoprim - an anti-cystitis medicine - should be available from pharmacies without a prescription.

But Dr Robin Howe, head of the antimicrobial resistance programme in Wales, has warned that changing its status could trigger resistance to antibiotics, making MRSA harder to deal with.

Trimethoprim is currently used as an alternative to other antibiotics which fail in the treatment of hospital superbugs such as MRSA.

An increased use of trimethoprim could jeopardise that option, Dr Howe has warned.

He added that reclassification goes against recommendations from the EU andaHouse of Lords committee, which both recommend that it should remain prescription-only treatments.

"Given the ever-increasing restrictions on antibiotic use in hospitals that are being encouraged by the Department of Health in an effort to control resistance and MRSA, it seems paradoxical to reclassify trimethoprim," said Dr Howe. …