According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, antibiotic resistance is an urgent public health crisis in the United States, threatening a return of an era when simple infections were potentially fatal. It is estimated that more than 2.8 million antibiotic resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year, and more than 35,0000 people die as a result.

Anytime an antibiotic is used, it can contribute to the development of this condition. The resistance develops when a combination of germs are exposed to antibiotics and their mechanisms of resistance, which result in bacteria and fungi no longer responding to the antibiotics designed to kill them. When these medications are needed, the benefits usually outweigh the risks of potential antibiotic resistance. However, too many antibiotics are currently being used incorrectly and unnecessarily, threatening the usefulness of these important drugs. The CDC estimates approximately 47 million antibiotic courses are prescribed in the U.S. each year for infections that do not require them, like the cold or the flu. This accounts for approximately 30% of antibiotics prescribed in doctors’ offices and emergency room settings.

The best way to combat this growing crisis is to begin with appropriate prescribing. After that, pharmacists are essential to helping providers determine the best course of treatment, identifying sensitivity to infections, educating both patient and provider, and monitoring the patient for compliance and side effects. The term for these efforts is called antibiotic stewardship, and there are multiple resources for stewardship in any setting, from the community to hospitals to long-term care facilities.

Antibiotic resistance is a public health crisis and fighting this crisis is going to take everyone doing their part to ensure appropriate antibiotic use. Guardian Pharmacy Atlanta has a team of long-term care pharmacists that review each new antibiotic prescription intended for our assisted living, personal care and skilled care residents. If you need more information about our services, please call 770-635-3301, and join the fight with good antibiotic stewardship!

Information for this article came from the CDC website, which can be viewed by clicking here.