Why is the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program Important?

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Why is the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program Important?

Studies show that 30-50% of all antibiotics prescribed are either unnecessary or inappropriate.

The overuse of antibiotics contributes to ~220,000-250,000 Canadians being diagnosed with hospital-acquired infections annually, resulting in ~8,000-12,000 deaths.

The financial toll of antibiotic resistance in Canada is estimated at $500 million per year in health care costs alone.

Why is antimicrobial stewardship important?


Overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics results in... 

1) Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance occurs when an antibiotic that was once effective in eliminating a bacterium is no longer effective.

When a person takes an antibiotic, it kills non-resistant bacteria in their body. The absence of non-resistant bacteria provides an ideal environment for the few remaining antibiotic-resistant bacteria to take over.

Through replication and gene transfer, these antibiotic-resistant bacteria can become more prevalent.

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2) Depletion of Antibiotic Treatment Options

The Drug Discovery Process

Due to the very expensive and time-consuming nature of drug research and development, there has been a significant decrease in the discovery and production of new antibiotics in the past 30 years.

With the increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant organisms and decreased efforts in new antibiotic development, we are slowly running out of options to treat resistant infections.

In order to combat future antibiotic-resistant infections, we must make a serious effort to conserve our existing antibiotics and continue the develpment of new ones.

Picture Source: World Health Organization

3) Side Effects and Toxicity

C. difficile bacterium. Picture Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Like all medications, antibiotics have potential side effects. Commonly, they include: upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, oral thrush and vaginal yeast infection.

When taking antibiotics for a long period of time, a person may develop a Clostridium difficile infection.

In most cases, C. difficile infections occur because the antibiotic treatment kills normal bacteria in the gut, allowing the C. difficile bacteria to grow in number. 

These bacteria produce toxins that can damage the intestines and cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.

Contact Us

Email our team at Antimicrobial.Stewardship@saskhealthauthority.ca

Phone us at 306-766-3520

We are located at:

Regina General Hospital
4B32, 1440 14th Ave
Regina, SK S4P 0W5

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