Introduction

Antibiotic resistance is a global problem. Locally, it is an issue of great significance, as Australia is one of the highest users of antibiotics in the developed world. Strategies to improve the appropriate use of antibiotics and reduce antibiotic resistance have now been well established in Australian hospitals and have been shown to be effective. The formal strategies undertaken in hospitals come under the banner of antibiotic stewardship programs in each organisation.1

‘Antimicrobial stewardship is a collective set of strategies to improve the appropriateness and minimise the adverse effects of antibiotic use including resistance, toxicity and costs. Stewardship is achieved by promoting the selection of the optimal antibiotic regimen, dose, duration and route of administration.’1

There is a growing recognition that antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) needs to be expanded into the community, where a relatively high proportion of antibiotics are being prescribed.

AMS is most successful when all stakeholders involved in antimicrobial use participate; that is, a multidisciplinary approach. Pharmacists have a fundamental role to play, irrespective of their work sector.

Learning objectives

After successful completion of this CPD activity, pharmacists should be able to:

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