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Infectious Diseases expert makes case for improved prescribing of antibiotics

Antibiotics save lives, but their use is not benign

Nearly half of antimicrobials are prescribed for people who don’t need them or are prescribed inappropriately.

“Antibiotics are in a unique class of medications where overuse can harm an entire population of people, whereas underuse may result in serious complications to the individual patient,” said Angela Myers, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, director, Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program, Children’s Mercy Hospital & Clinics. “It’s all about striking that balance between underuse and overuse.”

Dr. Myers addressed a spectrum of issues pertaining to antibiotics, including resistance, antimicrobial stewardship and clinician impact, in a session at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition titled “Unintended Consequences Related to Antimicrobial Exposures — The Case of Improved Prescribing.”

Antibiotic resistance has been described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “one of the world's most pressing health problems.” Clostridium difficile, for example, infected more than 250,000 Americans in 2013 in both outpatient and inpatient settings, she said.

“Just like in adults, we are seeing more and more cases of Clostridium difficile infection in children, and now it is actually more common for it to be community acquired than hospital acquired,” explained Dr. Myers, a member of the AAP Section on Infectious Diseases.

Read more via American Academy of Pediatrics.