What On Earth is “Antibiotic Stewardship”?

By Maryam Henein

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been sounding the alarm and pushing “antibiotic stewardship.”

At HoneyColony, we’ve been writing about the antibiotic resistance epidemic for almost a decade.

So why now?  

Antibiotic stewardship aims to curb the misuse of antibiotics that drives bacteria to develop resistance in the first place. It involves setting clear principles for how doctors prescribe antibiotics and how patients use them in different settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes. This also includes closely tracking whether those principles are followed, according to the CDC.

Antibiotic stewardship is comprised of a set of commitments and actions designed to optimize the treatment of infections while reducing the adverse events associated with antibiotic use.

For example, one approach is to deter doctors from prescribing antibiotics for viral infections that the drugs can’t treat, or giving a patient a “broad-spectrum” antibiotic capable of killing many bacteria when a “narrow-spectrum” drug would work.

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If I recall correctly, during the Rona regime, a whole slew of docs prescribed Azithromycin, a broad-spectrum macrolide antibiotic with a long half-life and a high degree of tissue penetration. Here is a paper that shows how consumption initially increased during the early days of the P*andemic.

“Among others, the inappropriate use of antimicrobial agents, especially during the first phase of the pandemic, raised special concern in terms of antibiotic stewardship (AS).”

As a Functional Medicine Coach, I was never down with this treatment; I thought the Rona was a novel virus and I still don’t understand how COVID-19 pneumonia differs from regular pneumonia. The same study I just cited shows there is evidence of a very low rate of bacterial coinfections with SARS-CoV2 infections.

Overuse and Misuse

Antibiotics are overprescribed or inappropriately prescribed between 30 and 50 percent of the time, as the CDC reports. This is nothing new. Growing antibiotic resistance has been noted by the WHO as an increasing health threat and could lead to 10 million deaths worldwide by 2050.

The implementation of antibiotic stewardship programs in hospital settings worldwide can reduce costs and antimicrobial consumption significantly.  Programs along with toolkits have been implemented all over the world….

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