By John Gums
May’s announcement that a strain of bacteria with genes conferring resistance to colistin, our antibiotic of last resort, was identified in the United States, is just the latest report highlighting the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance is driven by many factors, the most significant of which is inappropriate prescribing. This is when patients get a prescription for an antibiotic that they don’t really need, or get a prescription for the wrong antibiotic, the wrong dose or the wrong duration. And doctors know that inappropriate prescribing feeds the problem. So why do they keep doing it?
As a clinical pharmacist who has studied antimicrobial resistance and developed intervention programs to reverse the trend, I know firsthand how challenging this problem is to solve.
I believe there are two reasons inappropriate prescribing is so hard to curb.
- First, there is a philosophical disconnect between the data about antibiotic resistance and what drives prescriber behavior.
- The second is that physicians may bend to patient demand for antibiotics, even if the physician knows it won’t help or isn’t really needed. [Read more…] about To fight antibiotic resistance, we need to fight bad prescribing habits