Trends in U.S. antibiotic use, 2018

Resistance to antibiotics continues to present a challenge to public health; yet existing data on U.S. antibiotic use is lacking from dental offices, the telemedicine setting, and numerous other areas.

Resistance to antibiotics continues to present a challenge to public health; yet existing data on U.S. antibiotic use is lacking from dental offices, the telemedicine setting, and numerous other areas. Meanwhile, one study conducted in a sample of American hospitals found that 37% of vancomycin prescriptions written to treat urinary tract infection were potentially unnecessary or inappropriate. For a clearer understanding of the appropriateness of antibiotic use, additional and more comprehensive data are needed that cover more conditions and drugs. The quality and availability of information on antibiotic use in this country can be improved, however, with the cooperation of stakeholders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. CMS, for example, should take the final steps toward compulsory reporting of hospital antibiotic use to the National Healthcare Safety Network. And because antibiotic stewardship is important in food animals as well as in human health care, FDA should press forward with its proposed system for adjusting species-level use data; and researchers should work with retailers and livestock producers to figure out the best way to enhance data collection on the farm. Advancements from such measures promise to help keep trends in sight; fine-tune priorities; and help public health agencies, the health care sector, medical societies, and other policymakers target interventions to curtail inappropriate antibiotic use and decelerate the emergence of antibiotic resistance.