Antibiotic consumption in the country has increased by 30.81 percent in a span of just two years, according to a study published on Wednesday.
The findings of the study titled "Establishment of a National Antimicrobial Consumption (AMC) Monitoring System in Bangladesh," were revealed at a programme at a hotel in Dhaka.
Antibiotic consumption was 16.65 percent in the country in 2016, which increased to 19.8 percent in 2017 and 21.78 percent in 2018, the study found.
The consumption further enhanced to 25 percent till June 2019, the study added.
Professor Md Sayedur Rahman, chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, conducted the research on behalf of the Directorate General of Drug Administration.
The World Health Organization provided technical and financial support for the project.
Professor Sayedur conducted researched 82 types of antibiotics manufactured by 150 pharmaceutical companies. The information of first six months of the years in question were used as research data.
Consumption of nine types of antibiotics was higher, said the study, adding that the antibiotics consumed orally were much higher than those consumed through intravenous infusion.
Too much dependence on antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is when bacteria develop the ability to survive exposure to antibiotics designed to kill them or stop their growth.
While disclosing the research findings, Professor Sayedur Rahman said the development of newer antibiotics has declined in the last few decades.
There is a possibility that only one antibiotic drug will be invented in the next seven years, he said.
"Under such circumstances, reserved antibiotic drugs are the last resort, which we cannot use, or else the next generation will die from even minor illnesses," he said.
Dr Md Aminul Hasan, director (hospital) at the Directorate General of Health Services, said hospitals are taking measures to ensure use of appropriate use of antibiotics to prevent the indiscriminate use of antibiotics.
The Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital in Dhaka has undertaken a pilot project on antibiotic use, he said, adding that the project will be extended to other parts of Bangladesh.
Major General Md Mahbubur Rahman, director general of the Directorate General of Drug Administration, said antibiotic resistance is a global problem.
Bangladesh has taken different initiatives, including the National Strategy Plan, to address the issue, he added.
The programme recommended colouring packets of antibiotics red, selling a full course of antibiotic putting in a single packet, inscribing the word "antibiotic" in Bangla on the packet, and including a lesson on antibiotic resistance in textbooks.