Everyone loves Antibiotics – but are they the miracle drug?

15 September 2016
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In the lead up to the global Antibiotic Awareness Week (14–20 November), it is good to acknowledge the discovery and development of antibiotics meant people could be treated for many life threatening infections where previously there was no cure; antibiotics were hailed as a miracle or wonder drug.

However, Sue Edwards, Senior Clinical Pharmacist Drug and Therapeutics Information Service says, “the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) means some infections may once again become life threatening.  Infection with bacteria resistant to antibiotics may increasingly complicate or compromise some surgical procedures and impact immunocompromised patients.  AMR is an urgent global health priority, with the World Health Organization (WHO) describing it as a looming crisis. The prevalence of AMR is increasing both in Australia and internationally.”

Read Sue Edwards paper titled ‘Antibiotics – how to maintain their effectiveness?’ here: southerncrosscare.com.au/news_items/antibiotics-how-to-maintain-their-effectiveness 

The overuse of antibiotics and resulting increased antibiotic resistance is a timely topic, especially given that last year, the Drug and Therapeutics Information Service (DATIS) was awarded funding to undertake a project to implement an Antimicrobial Stewardship program in a residential aged care facility.

Southern Cross Care (SA&NT) partnered with DATIS to implement service enhancements to improve the quality use of antibiotics in three of our South Australian sites; Onkaparinga Lodge, Oaklands Park and Lourdes Valley.

The project titled SEQUAL (Service Enhancement for the Quality Use of Antibiotics in Long term care) is supported by a federal government Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grant.

Read the original media release here: http://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/about+us/our+local+health+networks/southern+adelaide+local+health+network

This project is led by Debra Rowett, Shalini Simmons and Sue Edwards from DATIS, and Ai Choo Kang and Barry Lowe from Southern Cross Care (SA&NT) and a lead nurse at each site.

Previously, Antimicrobial Stewardship activities largely focused on the hospital sector where they have been shown to decrease inappropriate antimicrobial usage, decrease the incidence of antimicrobial resistance, improve patient outcomes and reduce preventable adverse consequences of antimicrobial use. 

The objective of this project is to implement a program to reduce antimicrobial resistance within the residential aged care setting.

We look forward to sharing the results of this project’s work over time, and it is pleasing to note our sites welcoming the research.


Antibiotic Awareness Week is from 14–20 November 2016.