Antibiotic Stewardship Resources

According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health.

  • Antibiotics save lives but any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and can lead to antibiotic resistance. 
  • Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people get infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. At least 23,000 people die as a result. 
  • Antibiotic resistance does not mean the body is becoming resistant to antibiotics; it means bacteria develop the ability to defeat the antibiotics designed to kill them. 
  • When bacteria become resistant, antibiotics cannot fight them, and the bacteria multiply. 
  • Some resistant bacteria can be hard or impossible to treat and can spread to other people

What the CDC says Healthcare Providers can do to help:

  • Follow clinical guidelines on whether to prescribe antibiotics and when prescribing antibiotics, to prescribe the right antibiotic at the right dose for the right duration at the right time. 
  • Shortening the duration of antibiotic therapy to the minimum effective duration is a key antibiotic stewardship strategy in all settings of health care. The goal is to maximize the benefit to the patient by curing the infection while at the same time minimizing the risks of antibiotic resistance and side effects from antibiotics. 
  • Protect your patients. Only prescribe antibiotics when they are needed. You can do harm by prescribing antibiotics that aren’t needed. 
  • Tell your patients why they don’t need antibiotics for a viral infection, what to do to feel better, and when to seek care again if they don’t feel better. 
  • Talk to your patients and their families about possible harms from antibiotics, such as allergic reactions, C. difficile, and antibiotic-resistant infections. 
  • Educate your patients and their families so they can recognize the signs and symptoms of sepsis and know when to seek medical care for possible sepsis. 
  • Perform hand hygiene and follow infection prevention measures with every patient.

Additional Resources

Antibiotics aren’t always the answer (CDC handout)

Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in the US

Antibiotic Solutions Initiative