Drug resistance—the reduction in the effectiveness of a particular medicine (particularly antimicrobials) in treating a disease or condition—is considered one of the most pressing issues in medicine today. This problem is likely to have profound impacts on society in the decades to come. This understandable, single-volume book explores the history of drug resistance, explains how drug resistance occurs, cites the most problematic examples, identifies the potential consequences, and describes how drug resistance can be prevented. It also pays attention to current issues and controversies surrounding this topic, such as the role of the industrialized food system in breeding antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli.
The coverage includes up-to-date information about specific diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), for which drug resistance is a particular issue. Readers will understand how human behavior, such as patient non-adherence to treatment and physician over-prescription of antibiotics, have served to foster drug resistance. A selection of primary documents sourced from organizations such as the World Health Organization, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will serve those interested in pursuing more detailed research on particular topics.
- Provides an accessibly written introduction to the science of drug resistance that addresses both the biology of how microbes become resistant and the social practices that can foster drug resistance
- Summarizes information about the scope of drug resistance both in the United States and worldwide, allowing readers to understand this issue both as a national concern and in the global context
- Suggests a number of measures that can be taken to combat drug resistance, from changes in individual behaviors to larger policy changes
- Discusses complex ethical issues such as the need to weigh individual freedoms against societal rights in a balanced manner