Use antibiotics effectively to preserve their usefulness, NICE says

Good management of antibiotics can half the number of people picking-up drug-resistant infections in hospital, new research suggests.

Research published in the Lancet has found antibiotic stewardship programmes can lower the number of hospital infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria by 51 per cent.

It also shows the number of people experiencing drug-resistant infections decreases further when infection control measures, such as washing your hands, are followed.

Unnecessary use of antibiotics, such as taking them for mild infections that will clear up without them, is known to fuel resistance.

Multidrug-resistant infections are caused by bacteria that can survive treatment with more than one antibiotic. They are more commonly found in hospitals and are very difficult to treat.

NICE guidance, found here, says healthcare professionals should select the dose, length of treatment and type of administration that is right for the person and the infection. This stewardship helps to fight resistance because it preserves the usefulness of antibiotics.

Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE, said: “Antibiotic resistance is a concern for us all. If we do not act now we face a future where these medicines will no-longer work, which would mean people would die from routine surgery and other common infections we can currently treat.

“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.”