Antibiotics overuse

Antibiotics are important medicines. They help fight infections that are caused by bacteria. Antibiotic resistance (when an antibiotic is no longer effective) is a major problem. Antibiotic resistance is driven by overusing antibiotics and prescribing them inappropriately. Its important that we use antibiotics the right way, to slow down resistance and make sure these life-saving medicines remain effective for us and future generations.

What is the problem?

Antibiotic resistance is an everyday problem in all hospitals across Europe. The spread of resistant bacteria in hospitals is a major issue for patients safety.

(1) Infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria increase levels of disease and death, as well as the length of time people stay in hospitals.

(2) Inappropriate use of antibiotics may increasingly cause patients to become colonised or infected with resistant bacteria.

(3) Few new antibiotics are being developed. As resistance in bacteria grows, it will become more difficult to treat infection, and this affects patient care.

What is causing this problem?

Inappropriate use and prescribing of antibiotics is causing the development of resistance.

Inappropriate use includes:
(1) not completing a course of antibiotics as prescribed
(2) skipping doses of antibiotics
(3) not taking antibiotics at regular intervals
(4) saving some for later

Inappropriate prescribing includes:
(1) unnecessary prescription of antibiotics
(2) unsuitable use of broad-spectrum antibiotics
(3) wrong selection of antibiotics and inappropriate duration or dose of antibiotics...