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Experts urge policymakers to set up antimicrobial stewardship initiatives

March 19th, 2012
by Tania

Antibiotics testingA new study has detailed a national approach to antimicrobial stewardship in America, which could act as groundwork for similar considerations in other regions.

Antibiotics are becoming increasingly threatened in the US, but infectious diseases are on the increase at the same time. This has resulted in experts rallying together in order to protect antibiotics through a systematic approach, as the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) publishes a new position paper.

Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS) details ways in which the healthcare system can improve the use of antibiotics in an attempt to urge healthcare systems and policymakers to step up efforts to protect them.

There are several antimicrobial stewardship programs and interventions in place in the country that advise prescribers on the best drugs for their needs. Pharmacist-directed antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs) have proliferated considerably in the past decade. Evidence has supported that these initiatives work, although they are not yet widely implemented across different states.

Neil Fishman, MD, SHEA past president and position paper author said: "Antibiotic stewardship is a critical component of providing quality care in any health setting."

"Effective stewardship will improve outcomes, conserve limited resources and limit emergence of resistance."

There are several of these initiatives recommended in the paper, such as including such treatment in the curriculum for healthcare professionals to ensure that there is sufficient knowledge amongst practicing providers. The paper also outlines the need for more data on  antimicrobial use in both inpatient and outpatient settings, as well as monitoring initiatives and setting up regularity mechanisms.

The rise of drug resistant infections is a big problem in the US and around the world, and stewardship strategies are the first step that is required in dealing with the problem. In order to protect the effectiveness of the next generation of antibiotics, it is crucial that we observe the current situation and challenges.

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