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.

Learning objectives

After reading this article, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Explain antimicrobial stewardship and its place in primary care
  • Discuss the role of pharmacists in enabling the appropriate use of antimicrobials
  • Describe the challenges and opportunities of antimicrobial stewardship programs in different pharmacy practice settings.

Competencies: (2016) 1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.5.

Accreditation: CAP1904D.

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 (AM

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