Health professionals and patients are asked to carefully consider their use of antibiotics

Moncton, November 20, 2014 – A survey conducted in 2012 in 21 New Brunswick hospitals showed that 43% of antibiotic orders were either inappropriate or incomplete.

Antibiotics are powerful medicines that fight bacterial infections and can save lives. However, there is a concern worldwide that antibiotics are being misused. Antibiotic misuse is the main factor contributing to the growing number of bacterial infections that are resistant to antibacterial medications. Therefore, health professionals and patients must rethink how they use antibiotics.

Antibiotics affect everyone. Unlike most other drugs, use of an antibiotic in one patient can compromise the efficacy of another. Antibiotic-resistant organisms can cause infections in patients who have never received an antibiotic. Antibiotic-resistant organisms have a substantial impact on the health and safety of patients, and the resources of the health care system.

In an effort to raise awareness about this issue, Vitalité Health Network and Horizon Health Network are working together to promote the careful use of antibiotics and fight the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

It is recommended to patients:

  • When taking antibiotics:
    • Do not share them;
    • Do not skip doses;
    • Finish the entire prescription;
    • Do not save some for later.
  • Not to use antibiotics for viral infections (flu, colds, viral sinusitis);
  • Get the flu shot if advised by their doctor;
  • When seeing a physician for a possible infection, ask if it is a bacterial infection requiring an antibiotic;

Health professionals are asked to engage and collaborate in:

  • using antibiotics appropriately after careful consideration and only when needed;
  • actively monitoring antimicrobial resistance.

Health professionals and patients must engage and collaborate in improving the use of antibiotics and preserving their usefulness for today and for generations to come.