Increasing antimicrobial resistance is now a worldwide problem, compounded by the lack of development of new antimicrobial medicines. This leaves the prudent use of antimicrobial medicines, along with infection control, as the major strategies to counter this emerging threat.
A safe and effective strategy for antibiotic use involves prescribing an antibiotic only when it is needed and selecting an appropriate and effective medicine at the recommended dose, with the narrowest spectrum of antimicrobial activity, fewest adverse effects and lowest cost.
General principles of antibiotic prescribing:
1. Only prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infections if:
■ Symptoms are significant or severe
■ There is a high risk of complications
■ The infection is not resolving or is unlikely to resolve
2. Use first-line antibiotics first
3. Reserve broad spectrum antibiotics for indicated conditions only
The following information is a consensus guide. It is intended to aid selection of an appropriate antibiotic for typical patients with infections commonly seen in general practice. Individual patient circumstances and local resistance patterns may alter treatment choices.
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