A new report from CDC warns that there is a growing threat of antibiotic-resistant strains of infectious diseases. CDC ranks specific infections by urgency, and identifies Clostridium difficile, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae as the most urgent threats. It also detailed four steps to address the threat:
- preventing infections and the spread of resistance,
- tracking antibiotic-resistant infections,
- improving antibiotic stewardship, and
- developing new drugs and diagnostic tests.
Pharmacists can help in reducing antibiotic-resistance by communicating with patients about the proper use of antibiotics. Some patients erroneously believe that symptoms such as a sore throat require antibiotics, and will sometimes pressure health care providers to prescribe the drugs when they are not needed. Pharmacists and other health care providers can help patients understand that most symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medication, humidifiers, or warm liquids. Patients may also be unaware of the risks and side effects of using unnecessary antibiotics. CDC’s Get Smart program offers online continuing pharmacy education training modules about antibiotic resistance, and encourages greater communication between pharmacists and patients. The program’s Web site provides brochures, posters, one-page handouts, and other materials that can help pharmacists share information with patients.