Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are becoming the world's most dangerous and challenging bacteria. It is essential to take antibiotics to kill bacteria that cause infection. But, these antibiotic-resistant bacteria are growing at alarming rates. In the US, annually, more than 2 million people are infected and these bacteria cause at least 23,000 deaths. Estimates made by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide estimates of $20 billion annually on direct healthcare costs resulting from antibiotic resistance.
Core Cause of the Problem:
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control clearly states the chief reasons for antibiotic-resistant bacteria existing today:
- Careless use of antibiotics after getting prescriptions from doctors
- Improper use of antibiotics at an inappropriate time and having them when not needed
- Not completing a course of antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor
- Skipping doses
- Not taking at proper intervals
- Storing them for future use
- Sharing antibiotics with others
Treating Infections with Antibiotics:
Many a times, Physicians prescribe a combination of antibiotics to a patient who is admitted and waiting for disease culture results. At this stage, the infection is not yet known but they are given antibiotics in order to reduce the mortality rate. However, CDC says that nearly half the patients treated in the US are given unnecessary or inappropriate treatment. Even multiple intravenous antibiotics given for treatment are not the best.
AdvertisementData research from more than 500 US hospitals show that 78 percent of hospitals substantiated the use of unnecessary antibiotic combinations and about 70 percent of cases were for three explicit IV drug combinations that were used to treat anaerobic infections. This resulted in almost $13 million potentially preventable expenses for IV antibiotics in 500 hospitals. This excluded the costs incurred for supplementary supply or labour in nursing or pharmacy.
The Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that more than 11,000 patients being treated in more than 183 hospitals and 1 in 7 patients there were prescribed vancomycin, an antibiotic that helps build resistance.
This is a combination of many coordinated interventions that help monitoring and improving the correct use of antibiotics. A check on effective ways to reduce resistance, patient harm and also variations in health costs are possible. Antimicrobial stewardship programs have been constantly monitoring decreased antibiotic use and resulted in annual cost saving of up to $900,000.