Why is the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program Important?

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Why is the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program Important?

In 2016, for only the fourth time in its history, the United Nations General Assembly held a high-level meeting on a health topic: antimicrobial resistance.  The purpose of this meeting was to increase awareness among the international community of the public health threat posed by antimicrobial resistance.  Research has indicated that if we, as a global community, do nothing to change the way we currently use antibiotics, we could see more than 10 million deaths each year around the world due to antimicrobial resistant infections by the year 2050.

Why is antimicrobial stewardship important?

Overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics results in... 

1) Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance occurs when an antibiotic that was once effective in eliminating a bacterium is no longer effective.

When a person takes an antibiotic, it kills non-resistant bacteria in their body. The absence of non-resistant bacteria provides an ideal environment for the few remaining antibiotic-resistant bacteria to take over.

Through replication and gene transfer, these antibiotic-resistant bacteria can become more prevalent.

2) Depletion of Antibiotic Treatment Options

The Drug Discovery Process

Due to the very expensive and time-consuming nature of drug research and development, there has been a significant decrease in the discovery and production of new antibiotics in the past 30-40 years.

With the increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant organisms and decreased efforts in new antibiotic development, we are slowly running out of options to treat resistant infections.

In order to combat future antibiotic-resistant infections, we must make a serious effort to conserve our existing antibiotics and continue the develpment of new ones.

Picture Source: World Health Organization

3) Side Effects and Toxicity

C. difficile bacterium. Picture Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Like all medications, antibiotics have potential side effects.  Commonly, they include: upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, oral thrush and vaginal yeast infection.

When taking antibiotics for a long period of time, a person may also develop a Clostridioides difficileinfection.

In most cases, C. difficile infections occur because the antibiotic treatment kills normal bacteria in the gut, allowing the C. difficile bacteria to grow in number. 

These bacteria produce toxins that can damage the intestines and cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.

Contact Us

Regina Area:

Phone us at 306-766-3520

Email our team at Antimicrobial.Stewardship@saskhealthauthority.ca

We are located at:

Regina General Hospital
4B32, 1440 14th Ave
Regina, SK, S4P 0W5

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Hand washing is the single most important way to prevent the spread of germs that cause infections.

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