Antibiotic resistant gonorrhea – another reason for antibiotic regulation

An excellent paper and accompanying editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal describes huge increases in fluoroquinolone antibiotic resistance in Ontario from 2002 to 2006. Similar changes have been described in many other parts of the world.

Fluoroquinolones have only been in existence since the 1980s and first licensed for sale in Canada in 1988. They were the first new class of antibiotic introduced for many years and were received with extreme expectations. They were widely touted as the solution to antibiotic resistance to penicillins, tetracyclines, sulfa antibiotics and others. Ciprofloxacin, the most successful of the class was brilliantly marketed to community-based physicians as having “IV power in an oral formulation”.

In 20 short years one might say “the arse has well and truly fallen out of ‘er”. Fluoroquinolones are all but useless for many clinical indications. 20 years! All over the world!

Another good reason to increase attention to antibiotic misuse and develop the regulatory structures needed to tackle this urgent and relentless problem.