Individual clinicians will often ask why minimising antibiotic overuse helps the individual patients in front of them. Indeed there is good evidence that when doctors only consider antibiotic harms as being in the future and effecting the population at large, this doesn’t deter them from prescribing potentially unnecessary antibiotics for individual patients (Krockow EM 2019). The content on these pages is intended to provide clinicians leading the implementation of ARK with evidence and examples to use in discussions with front-line clinicians about how minimising antibiotic overuse protects their individual patients.
When prescribing for individual patients, the risk of not treating a bacterial infection can seem more important than the risk of prescribing antibiotics.
Studies that look at the population as a whole, such as Albrich et al 2004, show that more antibiotic use is linked to higher antibiotic resistance.
In addition to well-recognised adverse drug reactions associated with antibiotics there is growing evidence that reducing antibiotic exposure can protect individual patients from antibiotic resistant infection.
Evidence for this includes: