With antibiotic resistance increasing and a stagnant drug development pipeline, using antibiotics wisely is critical in addressing this growing public health crisis. Thats why infectious disease experts this week are helping to raise awareness about when antibiotics are appropriate, when they may do more harm than good, and the need for new antibiotic and diagnostic development.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) is supporting Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, Nov. 12-18, held each year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to educate the public, healthcare providers, and policymakers about the importance of using these lifesaving drugs wisely.
Antibiotics have changed medicine as we know it, but too often, we take them for granted, says IDSA president David A. Relman, MD, FIDSA. Some grocery stores have even offered antibiotics for free to attract customers. If we do not act now to preserve this lifesaving resource and give antibiotics the respect they deserve, we face a return to a time when people died of common infections, and many medical advances we take for grantedlike surgery, chemotherapy, and organ transplantssimply arent possible.
This week, IDSA is also joining with CDC and other national health care organizations to commit to principles, including encouraging the appropriate use of antibiotics, to conserve and replenish our antibiotic resources. (Read the consensus statement.) IDSA has been sounding the alarm about antibiotic resistance for many years, highlighting the need for a multipronged approach to the crisis.
Appropriate antibiotic use in hospitals, doctors offices, pharmacies, and on the farm is a key part of the solution. Another key element is providing economic incentives that encourage antibiotic research and development, such as the Limited Population Antibacterial Drug (LPAD) pathway proposed by IDSA to streamline the development of antibiotics needed to treat the most serious, life-threatening infections. In addition, more advanced rapid diagnostic tools to unmask infections more quickly and accurately are needed. Finally, improvements in surveillance, data collection, and immunization, and related research are in order.
We are already seeing patients with bacterial infections resistant to every antibiotic we have left, Relman says. It will take all of usconsumers, healthcare providers, researchers, policymakers, industry, and othersto tackle this problem and ensure that effective and lifesaving antibiotics are available for future generations.
Learn more about CDCs Get Smart About Antibiotics Week online. Visit www.AntibioticsNow.org for more information about IDSAs efforts, including the 10 x 20 Initiative, which aims to encourage the development of 10 new antibiotics by 2020.
Source: Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA)