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Antibiotic use is a key driver for antibiotic resistance. In fact, the introduction of a new antibiotic is often followed by reports of emerging resistance within months or a few years.

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Human antibiotic consumption, expressed in defined daily doses (DDD), is reported to have increased by 65% globally between 2000 and 2015. The variation in resistance rates within and between countries reflects the variations in antibiotic use, which is in turn related to differences in disease epidemiology, socioeconomic factors, cultural differences, and remuneration incentives. Antibiotic misuse and overuse causes selection of resistant strains. It has been estimated that as much as 50% of antibiotic prescriptions are inappropriate. Besides, non-prescription use accounts for as much as 19% to 100% of the antibiotic consumption in many countries outside of Europe and North America .

However, appropriate use is also a driver of resistance. When resistance rates increase, prescribers are forced to use antibiotics with a broader antibacterial spectrum resulting in further resistance development to these drugs in a vicious circle. Restrictive antibiotic use, prevention of spread and innovation of new drugs are needed to slow this process down.


The vicious circle of antibiotic resistance


Find out more

Here, you can access a link to the article ‘Prevalence of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions among US ambulatory care visits, 2010-2011’, which concludes that almost one-third of all prescriptions doled out each year in the US (about 47 million prescriptions) are unnecessary.

Below is also a link to the article reporting on human antibiotic consumption:

Journal article. Global increase and geographic convergence in antibiotic consumption between 2000 and 2015.


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