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NICE unveils guidelines to monitor antibiotic prescribing

pharmafile | February 18, 2015 | News story | Sales and Marketing AMR, Antibiotics, GPs, NHS, NICE, antimicrobials, baker 

NICE are asking UK doctors to spy on their colleagues in order to help tackle the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The UK body’s proposed guidelines hope to encourage medical professionals in England to prescribe and promote the sensible use of antibiotics and preserve their future effectiveness.

The new strategy comes only months after a government-funded report found that antibiotic-resistant bacteria could kill an extra 10 million people a year by 2050, if the problem is not tackled soon.

Commenting on the recommended guidance, Professor Mark Baker who is the director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE, says: “This draft guidance recognises that we need to encourage an open and transparent culture that allows health professionals to question antimicrobial prescribing practices of colleagues when these are not in line with local and national guidelines and no reason is documented.

“But it’s not just prescribers who should be questioned about their attitudes and beliefs about antibiotics. It’s often patients themselves who, because they don’t understand that their condition will clear up by itself, or that perhaps antibiotics aren’t effective in treating it, may put pressure on their doctor to prescribe an antibiotic.”

More than 100 compounds to tackle the growth of bacteria have been found since the discovery of the first antibiotic, Penicillin in 1928. However, according to NICE a new infectious disease is discovered almost every year but very few new antibiotics have been developed in the last 30 years.

“The more we use antibiotics, the less effective they become as diseases evolve and become resistant to existing antimicrobial medicines,” explains Professor Alastair Hay who is the Professor of Primary Care and chair of the committee which developed the guideline.

He continues: “Resistance to all antimicrobials is increasing and combined with a lack of new antimicrobial medicines, there is a heightened risk in the future that we may not be able to treat infections effectively.”

NICE recommends setting up multidisciplinary antimicrobial stewardship teams which will be able to review prescribing and resistance patterns, plus the UK body also proposes that patients are given advice about who they should contact if they have concerns about infection after discharge from hospital.

Tom Robinson

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