Antibiotic resistance is among the greatest public health threats today, leading to an estimated 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths per year in the United States. Although antibiotics are life-saving drugs that are critical to modern medicine, infections with pathogens resistant to first-line antibiotics can require treatment with alternative antibiotics that can be expensive and toxic.

Antibiotic-resistant infections can lead to increased healthcare costs and, most importantly, to increased morbidity and mortality.

The most important modifiable risk factor for antibiotic resistance is inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics. Approximately 50% of outpatient antibiotic prescribing might be inappropriate, including antibiotic selection, dosing, or duration, in addition to unnecessary antibiotic prescribing. At least 30% of outpatient antibiotic prescriptions in the United States are unnecessary.

Antibiotic stewardship is the effort to measure antibiotic prescribing; to improve antibiotic prescribing by clinicians and use by patients so that antibiotics are only prescribed and used when needed; to minimize misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses leading to underuse of antibiotics; and to ensure that the right drug, dose, and duration are selected when an antibiotic is needed. Antibiotic stewardship can be used in all healthcare settings in which antibiotics are prescribed and remains a cornerstone of efforts aimed at improving antibiotic-related patient safety and slowing the spread of antibiotic resistance. The goal of antibiotic stewardship is to maximize the benefit of antibiotic treatment while minimizing harm both to individual persons and to communities.

A few more statistics of note:

  • One out of every 5 emergency room visits for adverse drug events are caused by antibiotics.
  • Seven of the top 10 drugs involved in adverse drug events are antibiotics.
  • Antibiotics are the most frequent cause of pediatric visits for adverse drug events.

For these reasons, Tower Health Urgent Care proudly announces that we will initiate our Antibiotic Stewardship Program as doing our part in the CDC’s efforts to help keep our communities healthy, treatments effective, and to help protect the patients we serve by reducing the risk of adverse drug events caused by unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics when they are truly not needed.