background image
A
ntibiotics are important medicines for
treating bacterial infections in both
humans and animals. However, bacteria
can adapt and find ways to survive the
effects of an antibiotic.
This means antibiotics are losing their
effectiveness at an increasing rate. The more we
use antibiotics, the greater the chance bacteria
will become resistant to them and they can no
longer be used to treat infections. Learn more
about antibiotics.
Antibiotic resistance is one of the most
significant threats to patients' safety in Europe. It
is driven by overusing antibiotics and prescribing
them inappropriately.
To slow down the development of antibiotic
resistance, it is important to use antibiotics in the
right way to use the right drug, at the right dose,
at the right time, for the right duration. Antibiotics
should be taken as prescribed, and never saved for
later or shared with others.
Watch What is antibiotic resistance, and why
should we care? and visit www.antibioticguardian.
com to make a pledge about how you'll make better
use of antibiotics and help save this vital medicine
from becoming obsolete.
European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD)
Every year, European Antibiotic Awareness Day is
held on November 18. It's a European-wide public
health initiative that encourages the responsible
use of antibiotics.
Public Health England (PHE) is responsible
for co-ordinating EAAD activities in England.
PHE is working towards the One Health
initiative, in collaboration with the Veterinary
Medicines Directorate of the Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the
Department of Health, devolved administrations,
and other professional organisations.
The One Health initiative recognises that
the health of people, animals and the environment
are all closely linked. It brings together multiple
disciplines that aim to provide good health for all.
What is the problem?
Antibiotic resistance is an everyday
problem in all healthcare settings across England
and Europe. The spread of resistant bacteria in
hospitals or community healthcare settings is a
major issue for patient safety:
Infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria
increase levels of disease and death, as well as the
length of time people stay in hospitals.
Inappropriate use of antibiotics may
increasingly cause patients to become colonised
or infected with resistant bacteria.
Few new antibiotics are being developed.
As resistance in bacteria grows, it will become
more difficult to treat infection, and this affects
patient care.
What is causing this problem?
The inappropriate use and prescribing of
antibiotics is causing the development of
resistance.
Inappropriate use includes:
not taking your antibiotics as prescribed
skipping doses of antibiotics
not taking antibiotics at regular intervals
saving some for later
sharing antibiotics with others
Inappropriate prescribing includes:
unnecessary prescription of antibiotics
unsuitable use of broad-spectrum antibiotics
wrong selection of antibiotics
inappropriate duration or dose of antibiotics
How can it be addressed?
There are several ways antibiotic resistance can be
addressed.
First, antibiotic prescribing should be made a
strategic priority in hospitals by:
targeting antibiotic therapy
implementing structured antimicrobial
stewardship plans
reviewing local surveillance and assessing
microbiological data
Antibiotic prescribing should also be made a
priority in primary care by developing an antibiotic
stewardship tool for prescribers.
p