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Archives of Clinical Microbiology

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Abstract

Clinical Microbiology: Antimicrobial Stewardship

Dr. Shira Liza*

Antimicrobial resistance is increasing; however, antimicrobial drug development is slowing. Now more than ever before, antimicrobial stewardship is of the utmost importance as a way to optimize the use of antimicrobials to prevent the development of resistance and improve patient outcomes. This review describes the why, what, who, how, when, and where of antimicrobial stewardship. Techniques of stewardship are summarized, and a plan for implementation of a stewardship program is outlined. Antimicrobial stewardship is the systematic effort to educate and persuade prescribers of antimicrobials to follow evidence-based prescribing, in order to stem antimicrobial overuse, and thus antimicrobial resistance. AMS has been an organized effort of specialists in infectious diseases, both in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics with their respective peer-organizations, hospital pharmacists, the public health community and their professional organizations since the late 1990s. It has first been implemented in hospitals. In the U.S., within the context of physicians' prescribing freedom (choice of prescription drugs), AMS had largely been voluntary self-regulation in the form of policies and appeals to adhere to a prescribing self-discipline until 2017, when the Joint Commission prescribed that hospitals should have an Antimicrobial Stewardship team, which was expanded to the outpatient setting in 2020.

In the early days of antibiotics, booming drug development meant that even when resistance developed, a new drug was always available to treat the increasingly resistant bacteria. Fourteen new classes of antibiotics were introduced between 1935 and 2003. However, rapid antimicrobial development came with a cost antimicrobial resistance. In the hospital, resistance to antibiotics and antifungals poses the greatest concern. The use of the term ‘antimicrobial stewardship’ has grown exponentially in recent years, typically referring to programmes and interventions that aim to optimize antimicrobial use. Although antimicrobial stewardship originated within human healthcare, it is increasingly applied in broader contexts including animal health and One Health.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been clearly identified as a major global health challenge. It is a leading cause of human deaths and also has a toll on animals, plants, and the environment. Despite the considerable socio-economic impacts, the level of awareness of the problem remains woefully inadequate, and antimicrobials are not generally recognized as a global common good, one that everyone has a role and responsibility to conserve. It is imperative for antimicrobial stewardship to be more widely implemented to achieve better control of the AMR phenomenon. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations plays an important role in promoting and facilitating antimicrobial stewardship.

Keywords

Antimicrobial Stewardship; Human healthcare; Techniques of stewardship; Hospital pharmacists

Published Date: 0223-01-30; Received Date: 0222-12-29