Misuse of antibiotics include:
- When antibiotics are prescribed unnecessarily
- When antibiotic administration is delayed in critically ill patients
- When broad-spectrum antibiotics are used indiscriminately, or when narrow-spectrum antibiotics are used incorrectly
- When the dose of antibiotics is lower or higher than appropriate for the specific patient
- When the duration of antibiotic treatment is too short or too long
- When antibiotic treatment is not streamlined according to microbiological culture data results
Prudent use of antibiotics can prevent the emergence and selection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. All hospital prescribers can play an active role in reversing the increasing rates of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
HPA and HPA-supported resources
- The HPA's Primary Care Unit has launched an updated version of Management of Infection Guidance for Primary Care. The guidance has been reviewed extensively, with a fully referenced rationale section now available after the four-page guidance. It includes new short sections on conjunctivitis and herpes labialis.The Comments section with each clinical scenario have also been rewritten and referenced.
- The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has developed an on-line module, Managing Acute Respiratory Tract Infections, in collaboration with the HPA, from RCGP's online training environment http://www.elearning.rcgp.org.uk/ [external link].
The module details the evidence of why it is crucial to evaluate and reduce our prescribing: to ensure that antibiotics are prescribed for those who will benefit from them, and to explain, reassure and educate the large group of patients who will not.
- eBug is a free educational resource for classroom use which provides activities and lesson plans covering micro organisms, and the spread, prevention and treatment of infection.
The e-Bug team recently upgraded their website to include specifically children focused pages. Children can now use the junior or senior aged web pages at home, independently of teachers.
Department of Health resources
The Department of Health has created a number of toolkit materials. These are available for download from www.dh.gov.uk/antibiotics [external link]. They include fact sheets, checklists for prescribers and managers, and posters and promotional materials.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has created materials for EAAD for download, from http://antibiotic.ecdc.europa.eu/ [external link]. See the External Links to reach resources including
- factsheets detailing the main issues surrounding antibiotic resistance in hospital settings for managers and prescribers;
- a slide presentation for use in hospital training;
- a screensaver and checklist outlining the main considerations that prescribers should consider
- short videos for the public, including a sneezing panda and hedgehog, as a fun way to remind people to 'Take care, not antibiotics'.