Continuing Education Activity
Antibiotics are powerful drugs that are used to combat once fatal diseases. As with any powerful medication, antibiotics carry a wide range of adverse effects. The appropriate use of such agents has a high beneficiary effect that outweighs the risks. However, once antibiotics are unnecessarily used, patients experience no benefits while their susceptibility to the side effects is still present. Moreover, antibiotics disrupt the composition of the infectious agent, leading to bacterial adaptation or mutations, and in turn, to new strains that are resistant to the current antibiotic regiment. The inappropriate use of antibiotics in one patient might develop a resistant strain that spreads to other patients that do not use antibiotics, which makes this issue a pressing public health problem. In 2015, 30% of the outpatient antibiotics prescribed were unnecessary, with acute respiratory infections holding the highest unnecessary use of antibiotics at 50%. This activity reviews the considerations for the use of antibiotics and discusses the role of the interprofessional team in educating patients on when they are necessary and when they should be avoided.
- Explain the purpose of antibiotics.
- Describe the issues of concern with the unnecessary prescription of antibiotics.
- Review the clinical significance of being judicious in prescribing antibiotics.
- Summarize the current antibiotic stewardship guidelines set forth by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).