The Antibiotic Paradox: How the Misuse of Antibiotics Destroys Their Curative Powers / Edition 2

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In this totally revised and updated edition of the classic primer on the misuse of antibiotics, Dr. Stuart Levy reveals how our cavalier and naïve attitude about the power of antibiotics can have -and already has had-dire consequences. He explains that we are currently witnessing a massive evolutionary change in bacteria. This build-up of new antibiotic-resistant bacteria in individuals and the environment, mixed with our overzealous use of antibiotic soaps and the unregulated dispensing of antibiotics worldwide, is leading us into a dangerous territory where our "miracle" drugs will no longer help.

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Editorial Reviews

Orville Schell
There is no one who knows this subject better or who has written about it with more lucidity than Stuart Levy. —Dr. Levy is a staff physician at the New England Medical Center and both Professor of Medicine and of Molecular Microbiology at Tufts University School of Medicine.
From The Critics
Easily accessible to lay readers, peppered with personal anecdotesand clear explanations...[a] thought-provoking treatise.
Washington Post
[Levy is] one of the world's leading experts on the misuse of antibiotics.
A timely invaluable resource for those in the health professions and for policy makers.
New England journal of Medicine
Accessible, fact-filled...easy to read...Levy's writing is lucid, and his analogies are helpful.
From The Critics
Contending that the seemingly endless miracle of antibiotics has led to an overuse and abuse which paradoxically detrimentally impacts their effectiveness, Levy (Tufts U. School of Medicine) simultaneously tells the history of the use of antibiotics and explains some of the basic science behind its effectiveness. He warns that the growing preponderance of antibiotics, not just in over-prescriptions, but also in common household products could well lead to the selection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that could have devastating impacts for human health. The new edition closes with an epilogue in which Levy criticizes the U.S. government's handling of the anthrax attacks, arguing that use of the antibiotic Cipro should be carefully monitored rather than handed out to everyone who has some possibility of having contacted some Anthrax spores. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738204406
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 12/24/2001
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 380
  • Sales rank: 805,404
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Stuart B. Levy, M.D., is a world-renowned author on antibiotic use and resistance. The president of the international Alliance for Prudent Use of Antibiotics, Dr. Levy is a staff physician at the New England Medical Center and both Professor of Medicine and of Molecular Microbiology at Tufts University School of Medicine.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition vii
Preface to the First Edition xiii
Acknowledgments xvii
1 From Tragedy the Antibiotic Age is Born 1
2 The Disease and the Cure: The Microscopic World of Bacteria and Antibiotics 15
3 Reliance on Medicines and Self-Medication: The Seeds of Antibiotic Misuse 57
4 Antibiotic Resistance: Microbial Adaptation and Evolution 71
5 The Antibiotic Myth 115
6 Antibiotics, Animals, and the Resistance Gene Pool 149
7 Further Ecologic Considerations: Antibiotic Use in Agriculture, Aquaculture, Pets, and Minor Animal Species 181
8 Future Prospects: New Advances against Impending Disaster 211
9 The Individual and Antibiotic Resistance 239
10 The Antibacterial Craze 263
11 Antibiotic Resistance: A Societal Issue at Local, National, and International Levels 275
Epilogue: Anthrax, Bioterrism, and Antibiotic Stockpiling: Consequences Beyond the Scare 315
References Cited 321
Bibliography 325
Index 335
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