About one third of hospital patients are prescribed antibiotics and up to 50% of their use is unnecessary or inappropriate.  Whilst some EU countries have made significant strides in the control of drug-resistant infections, overuse and the spread of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) urgently need to be addressed in others. As drug-resistant infections are not contained by national borders, the approach must be strict, consistent and coordinated at European and international level.

Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) was a topic at the 21st Congress of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists in Vienna where great emphasis was placed on the importance of establishing well-trained, multidisciplinary teams supported by committed leadership. As medicines experts with knowledge of infection control, hospital pharmacists play an important role as educators of other healthcare workers and patients.

AMS can be described as a series of multi-professional interventions across all care settings. Alongside infection control and decontamination action it has become an essential strategy deployed in hospitals across Europe to fight multi-drug resistant ‘superbugs’.

Efficient AMS programmes hinge on first-rate management skills across hospital and community settings, and the availability of local guidance. This must go hand in hand with surveillance data on antibiotics use and occurrence of resistance so that compliance with guidance can be measured, and its impact evaluated.

To read more about Antimicrobial Stewardship go to the epha.org website