Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 12:00 AM
Healthcare providers are being more careful in prescribing antibiotics to patients.
Taking antibiotics when they are not necessary can lead to antibiotic-resistant infections and can cause bacteria to grow into superbugs. Either one could make your next infection harder to treat.
This effort is a national priority. The Centers for Disease Control, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Joint Commission have established oversight and regulations due to the overprescribing of antibiotics and the increased resistance trends in bacteria, according to Charlie Cook, director of pharmacy for Marshall Medical Center South and the Marshall Cancer Care Center.
“Last year we formed an Antibiotic Stewardship Committee chaired by Dr. Andrew Christie, which is a sub-committee of the Pharmaceutics and Therapeutics Committee of the Marshall Hospital Systems,” he said. “We have established policies and procedures and have already implemented them in our standard orders.”
Educational efforts extend not only to physicians and medical staff, but also to patients and the public.
“We send out highlights and trends of resistance and important reminders to the physicians and staff,” Cook said. “Patients are getting information in their admission packets.”
The purpose of Marshall Medical’s Antibiotic Stewardship Committee is to promote the appropriate use of antimicrobials by selecting the appropriate agent, dose, duration and route of administration in order to improve patient outcomes, while minimizing toxicity and the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.
How serious is this issue?
Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial infections. Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people get serious infections with bacteria that are resistant to one or more of the antibiotics designed to treat those infections. At least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these antibiotic-resistant infections.
Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change in a way that reduces or eliminates the ability of antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Here are some ways you can help prevent antibiotic resistance:
Before accepting a prescription for antibiotics, ask the Top 5 questions:
Some simple guidelines for patients were created by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. First are the ABCs of Antibiotics:
Ask – Are these antibiotics necessary? What can I do to feel better?
Bacteria – Antibiotics do not kill viruses. They only kill bacteria.
Complete the course – Take all of your antibiotics exactly as prescribed (even if you are feeling better.)
Even if you are very sick, you shouldn’t insist your healthcare provider prescribe antibiotics. Remember, you do not need antibiotics for:
You can learn more about antibiotic resistance at apic.org/infectionpreventionandyou and at cdc.gov/getsmart.