In her Statement for World Health Day 2011, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan said “the trends are clear and ominous. No action today means no cure tomorrow”.

Unfortunately, that trend is still progressing, as HPS’ Ly Ching Lam explains in her article A World Without Antibiotics. Ly Ching describes how expanding antimicrobial resistance, without drug company investment in new therapies, means “we are now faced with a grim but very real possibility of reverting to the conditions of a pre-antibiotic era”.

Antibiotic Awareness Week is an opportunity to review how our usage of antibiotics not only contributes to the health of the patients in our immediate care, but also the health of our community, near and far, in the long term.

This annual event sees the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, the National Prescribing Service, and other organisations collaborate in a global initiative to highlight the problem of antimicrobial resistance and promote the safe and judicious use of antimicrobials in hospitals and the community.

In layman’s terms, appropriate use of antimicrobials should be case sensitive and utilised only when necessary rather than for viral conditions, the common cold or childhood earaches.

Once antimicrobial treatment has begun, it is important to ensure that a tailored regimen is followed carefully and the prescribed course completed. Therapeutic Guidelines: Antibiotic Version 14 offers a more considered prompt to guide rational use of antimicrobials in The Antimicrobial Creed, which has the acronym of MIND ME, as follows:

The Antimicrobial Creed

Microbiology guides therapy wherever possible

Indications should be evidence based

Narrowest spectrum required

Dosage appropriate to the site and type of infection

Minimise duration of therapy

Ensure monotherapy in most cases

“Preventing and Controlling Healthcare Associated Infections” is now more than just a beneficial idea, it is one of the ten mandatory standards for the accreditation of hospitals. Hospitals must implement and sustain antimicrobial stewardship programs to; optimise antimicrobial use, to prevent adverse reactions, the emergence of resistant bacteria, and to improve patient outcomes.

Michael Soriano reports in his article Antimicrobial Stewardship – the Next Step, how pharmacists contributing to antimicrobial stewardship programs have also assisted in reducing the total consumption of antimicrobials and hospital costs.

HPS Pharmacies has developed a comprehensive Antimicrobial Stewardship Program for clients. For further information, please contact Tin Huynh, General Manager – Business Development on (08) 8177 8218, or via email: tin.huynh@hps.com.au

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