A young woman walked in my pharmacy at noon and asked for help as she missed a dose for her new prescribed antibiotics, Ibilex 500. Her doctor directed her to take two tablets in the morning and two in the afternoon until all finished, but she missed her morning time dose due to busy work.

In the scenario, I felt uncertain to cope with antibiotic underuse situation due to insufficient knowledge on antibiotics. However, I tried to review resources such as AMH and NPS Medicinewise for solutions and recommended her to take her dose shortly based on my knowledge. This can minimize the time for bacteria in her system to become resistant, thereby reducing chances of complications of infection. As I was not confident with my decision, I approached my pharmacist about her request. She was then told to immediately take her dose as directed due to the short period of missing time, and was educated on the safe use of her medication.

The NPS Medicinewise suggests that if antibiotics are not taken at prescribed doses and frequency, time will be allowed to develop bacterial resistance. Duration of infection will subsequently remain longer and complications might happen. Consumer Medicine Information from AusDI also states that patient should take missed dose immediately unless the next dose is due. Therefore, in the scenario, taking the missed dose shortly is a safe decision that can reduce the chance of non-sensitive antibiotics. Education also has a vital role for the safe use of antibiotics. The NPS Medicinewise points out that antibiotic use increases antibiotic resistance at both individual and population level. Karen et al also claims that the general public has the necessity to understand the nature of antibiotics and their prudent use to prevent resistance development. It is concluded that education is a core element in addressing the safe use of antibiotics, which is also stipulated in the Antibiotic Stewardship (AMS) programs.

After consulting with the National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists (2012) Standard 7.1, Element 2.1, I noticed my weakness in achieving goals of safe use of medicines, which is one of the principles of Quality Use of Medicines. This is possibly due to insufficient pharmaceutical knowledge. Good medication safety awareness is crucial in my future practices to reduce adverse effects in patients. It is exceptionally important in this scenario as antibiotic resistance may develop due to the misuse of medication. At this point, educating family members and friends on antibiotics is a good initial step to learn and practice, while benefiting them the safe use of antibiotics.