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Antimicrobial resistance

AMR highlighted as part of World Antibiotic Awareness Week

Research published in The Lancet shows that antibiotic stewardship programmes can halve the number of hospital infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has highlighted research that shows that effective management of antibiotics can halve the number of people who contract drug-resistant infections in hospital, to mark World Antibiotic Awareness Week, which ran from 13 to 19 November 2017.

The research, published in The Lancet, found that antibiotic stewardship programmes can reduce the number of hospital infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria by 51%.

The findings also showed that the number of people experiencing drug-resistant infections dropped further still when infection control measures, such as good hand hygiene, were implemented.

NICE deputy chief executive Gillian Leng said: “Stewardship programmes only work when everyone is on the same page. It can be hard work, but this new research shows the difference we can make when we work together. It is very good news.”

International collaboration

Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have taken increased steps to align their approaches to the evaluation of antibiotics, in a bid to stimulate the development of new treatments to fight antimicrobial resistance.

The three agencies want to encourage the development of new antibiotics treatment, in particular those targeting multidrug-resistant pathogens, to try and fight antimicrobial resistance.

Elsewhere, Public Health England have produced new guidance documents on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). “Health matters: preventing infections and reducing AMR” warns that a failure to address the challenge of antimicrobial resistance could result in an estimated 10 million deaths every year globally by 2050, and a cost of £66 trillion in lost productivity to the global economy.

It also includes advice for health professionals to help them prevent patients acquiring infections from healthcare interventions.

And in Scotland, a report has been published that warns that the levels of several important antibiotic resistant infections increased in 2016.

The “One Health Antimicrobial Use and Antimicrobial Resistance” report highlights the fact that 70 samples of bacteria were not affected by antibiotic drugs that are often given as a last resort.

Ten years ago, fewer than ten samples of resistant bacteria were identified across the country.

Data on antibiotic resistance

The European Centre for Disease Prevention has published its latest EU-wide data on antibiotic resistance. It shows that last year, combined resistance to several antibiotic groups continued to increase.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, European commissioner for health and food safety, said: “With increasing resistance even to last-line antibiotics we face a frightening future where routine surgery, childbirth, pneumonia and even skin infections could once again become life threatening.”

In London Imperial College University and Imperial College Healthcare Trust held an antibiotics amnesty in November 2017 to mark World Antibiotics Awareness Week.

People were given the opportunity to hand in their unused or out of date antibiotics at any of the trust’s Lloyds outpatient pharmacies.

Mark Gilchrist, consultant pharmacist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Antibiotics are a precious resource, the effectiveness of which is under threat from increasing bacterial resistance, creating one of the most significant threats to global patient safety.

“We can all help to reduce antibiotic resistance by only taking antibiotics when they are prescribed. Antibiotics should never be saved for later or shared with others.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203998

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