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Dangerous gaps in knowledge: One third of Europeans believe that antibiotics fight viruses
17. November 2020.
• Just 43 percent of Europeans know that antibiotics only help against bacteria
• Two-thirds of Europeans fear antimicrobial resistance
• World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18-24 November) aims to improve knowledge

“Antimicrobials: handle with care” - With this appeal, the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18-24 November) backed by the World Health Organization addresses politicians, healthcare professionals and the public. The aim: to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance.

The STADA Health Report 2020 shows: the global problem of antimicrobial resistance worries 66% of Europeans. Of these, 23% fear that not enough money is currently being invested in research, while 43% believe that antibiotics are being prescribed too hastily and too frequently.

Two thirds of Europeans incorrectly think antibiotics are a remedy for other pathogens – a third (32%) think that they help against viruses, a fifth (21%) believe they fight fungal infections, and 4% would even employ antibiotics to treat tumors. Indeed, 5% mistakenly believe that antibiotics help against all of the above. Another seven percent give in with an "I don't know”. A mere 43% of Europeans know that only bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics; therefore, more than half of them have little ideal when taking antibiotics makes sense. Serbs (54 percent) and Austrians (53 percent) have above-average knowledge of the appropriate use of antibiotics.

Whether available with or without a prescription, antibiotics should be used with caution and strictly according to directions: this helps to ensure antibiotics really work when they are needed.

Information gap when taking antibiotics

A dangerous lack of knowledge prevails not only on when taking antibiotics is appropriate, but also on how to take them: 70% of Europeans know to avoid beer when using antibiotics so as not to impair the medicine’s efficacy, but only 28% are aware of the potential impact of drinking citrus juices. Just one quarter are aware of that drinking milk could have negative effects on certain antibiotics working, with women at 29 percent knowing more about the reduction in effectiveness than men at 22 percent.

One in four mistakenly thinks that coffee is one of the drinks with harmful consequences. Overall, only two percent of Europeans know all the right answers.

More knowledge to combat resistance
Better knowledge about using antibiotic therapies appropriately should contribute to more effective treatment. Well-informed people know when and for how long it makes sense to use antibiotics and which food and drinks can cause hamper therapy.

About STADA Arzneimittel AG
STADA Arzneimittel AG is headquartered in Bad Vilbel, Germany. The company focuses on a two-pillar strategy consisting of generics, including specialty pharmaceuticals and non-prescription consumer health products. Worldwide, STADA Arzneimittel AG sells its products in approximately 120 countries. In financial year 2019, STADA achieved adjusted Group sales of EUR 2,608.6 million and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of EUR 625.5 million. As of December 31, 2019, STADA employed 11,100 people worldwide.

Additional information for journalists:
STADA Arzneimittel AG / Media Relations / Stadastrasse 2-18 / 61118 Bad Vilbel – Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 6101 603-165 / Fax: +49 (0) 6101 603-215 / E-Mail: press@stada.de
Or visit us on the Internet at www.stada.com/press