Alexander Fleming so noted in the New York Times in 1945 — but it seems we had to learn the hard way,” Fekete says. The hard way that the drugs were too-often prescribed for viral pathogens (which antibiotics can’t cure). The hard way what happens when unfettered access to antibiotics, as exists in other countries, results in the wrong drug being prescribed at the wrong dose — promoting development of highly resistant strains. Some pathogens are pan-resistant, that is, resistant to all available antibiotics. The World Health Organization calls antibiotic resistance “a problem so serious that it threatens the achievement of modern medicine.” Moreover, we’re battling a escalating problem with a scanty armamentarium. Many drugs simply don’t work anymore.
We’ve also seen a dramatic drop in the development of new antibiotics in recent years. And even under ideal circumstances, antibiotics do collateral damage. They shift the balance of species present in the microbiome. Even short-term disruption can have long-term impact. Fekete chairs TUH’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee — physicians, pharmacists, clinical microbiologists, and infection control specialists who monitor the use of antibiotics in the inpatient setting. “Antibiotic stewardship is essential to patient safety and public health. We must contain the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains,” he says. The objective of antibiotic stewardship is to ensure that antibiotics are used only when needed — and that the most SPRING 2016 | TEMPLE HEALTH MAGAZINE |
Temple Health - Temple Health Magazine - Spring 2016