Pharmacy journal raises flag for antibiotic stewardship

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The International Journal of Pharmacy Practice has released its special February issue focused on antibiotic resistance

This month’s IJPP free-to-view issue is opened by the journal’s editor Christine Bond, Professor of Primary Care (Pharmacy) and Head of Centre of Academic Primary Care at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Professor Bond says she is “delighted that we have made this first issue of 2017 a special antibiotic issue in which all the papers look at different perspectives of the problem”.

“For the past 50 years or more, much of the world has felt secure from the threat of deadly infections thanks to the combined approach of immunisation and antibiotics. But that golden age is under threat.

“New diseases are emerging, against which we have no protection and as we all know antibiotic resistance is a major concern.”

Professor Bond adds that there are “many and various challenges of antibiotic resistance and signposts for us, as researchers and individuals, areas where we can contribute to antibiotic stewardship.”

In her guest editorial, Professor Jayne Lawrence, Chief Scientist of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in the UK, says that while most think of antibiotic resistance as a modern phenomenon, it existed for tens of thousands of years before modern man discovered how to use these drugs as medicines.

However, she laments that in modern times people have been very careless about the use of antibiotics, “with much overprescribing”.

“It is estimated that about 90% of all antibiotic prescriptions are issued by general practitioners in primary care – predominantly to treat respiratory tract infections – where viruses rather than bacteria are the commonest culprits,” says Professor Lawrence.

“Concerted global action is urgently required to tackle the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance. In this respect, it has been found that multifaceted interventions are better than single initiatives at reducing the overuse of antibiotics.”

Proposed actions include a combination of the prohibition of over-the-counter sales of antibiotics, the implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programmes, the participation of clinicians in audits, the use of rapid point-of-care tests, the use of delayed antibiotic prescribing strategies and improved information for patients using information brochures,” she says.

Other articles in the February IJPP issue include:

  • Promoting the appropriate use of antibiotics through hospital electronic prescribing systems;
  • Parental knowledge of antibiotic use in children with respiratory infections;
  • ‘Repeat’ prescriptions and antibiotic resistance: findings from Australian community pharmacy;
  • Validity of prescribing indicators for assessing quality of antibiotic use in Australian general practice;
  • Antibiotic resistance awareness: a public engagement approach for all pharmacists.

The special antibiotics issue coincides with the release of Australian Prescriber’s February issue, which also leads with an editorial antimicrobial use and resistance in Australia.

“Managing the emergence and increasing resistance to antimicrobials in hospitals and the community has become an urgent national and international problem,” writes Professor John Turnidge, an infectious diseases expert and co-founder of the Australian Society for Antimicrobials.

Professor Turnidge says Australia is developing a coordinated national program to monitor antimicrobial use and resistance, and goes on to provide the latest data on antimicrobial use in the country.

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