Know when antibiotics are appropriate . . . and when they are NOT
Did you know that nearly 50 percent of antimicrobial use in hospitals is unnecessary or inappropriate? Antibiotics are life-saving drugs first used during World War II to treat bacterial infections. Today, there has been an increase in infectious organisms adapting to the antimicrobials designed to kill them, making the drugs ineffective. Using antibiotics inappropriately contributes to the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections.
Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change in a way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of antibiotics. As a result, stronger, more expensive antibiotics are needed to overcome the same bacteria. People who develop antibiotic-resistant infections are more likely to need hospitalization and are at increased risk for death.
What you can do:
To prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections:
- Play an active role in antimicrobial stewardship. Antimicrobial stewardship programs encourage the appropriate use of antimicrobials (including antibiotics) to minimize overuse, improve patient outcomes, reduce microbial resistance, and decrease the spread of infections.
- Explain to your patients that antibiotics are for bacterial infections.
- Educate your patients when antibiotics are not necessary, especially if they demand antibiotics.
- Remind your patients that they need to complete their dosage, if they are prescribed antibiotics.
- Remind your patients not to share antibiotics or take antibiotics not prescribed to them.
- Share APIC’s ABC’s of Antibiotics infographic with your patients!
Learn more and share:
- Get Smart: Know when antibiotics work—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Protect Patients from Antibiotic Resistance—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 2016 Vital Signs report
- CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Patient Safety Atlas—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Download the new CDC Get Smart factsheets:
- Antibiotic resistance—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Get smart about antibiotics . . . and antibiotic resistance!—APIC consumer alert
- Infection prevention + antimicrobial stewardship = Synergy—APIC Prevention Strategist article
- Special Report: Antimicrobial Resistance: Time for Change—Medscape (a one-time, free registration at Medscape is required to view some content)
- The urgent need for nurse practitioners to lead antimicrobial stewardship in ambulatory health care—Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners