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Antibiotics: friend or foe?

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The Antimicrobial Stewardship Program presents a new animation video to explain why we need to be smarter about antibiotic use. (Whiteboard animation: Kryski Biomedia)

When is it appropriate to use antibiotics?

Antimicrobial resistance isn't a new phenomenon. Germs have the ability to develop resistance – but the more drug exposure there is, the faster it develops in people, animals and agriculture.

The misuse of antibiotics is risky to patients – it can increase mortality, time spent in the hospital and lead to collateral damage – including a new infection with another bug like C. difficile – a germ that causes diarrhea in most, but may cause serious or fatal infections in others.

"Antibiotics are miracles of medicine," said Dr. Andrew Morris, Medical Director, Mount Sinai Hospital-University Health Network Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. "But we are at increasing risk of losing them unless we use them wisely, and when we need them."  

Before prescribing an antibiotic, healthcare professionals should ask themselves:
- Why?
- Which drug?
- What dose?
- What duration?

Nov.18-22 is Antibiotics Awareness Week.  Learn more about the UHN-MSH Antimicrobial Stewardship Team.

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