In essence, antibiotic stewardship is a call to action to implement an organizational or system-wide health-care strategy to promote appropriate use of antimicrobials through evidence-based interventions.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only 50% of antibiotics are used correctly globally and that drug-resistant infections already cause at least 700,000 deaths worldwide every year, a figure that could increase to 10 million deaths globally per year by 2050 if no action is taken.1
With antibiotic stewardship, physicians can increase the prudent use of antibiotics when it benefits the patient. At the same time, antibiotic stewardship minimizes the likelihood of adverse effects from antibiotic overuse. These include toxicity—the selection of pathogenic organisms such as Clostridioides difficile (C. diff)—and the emergence or spread of antimicrobial resistance.2
An effective antibiotic stewardship program focuses on reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics while promoting their prudent use. In short, this means the right antibiotic for the right patient, at the right time, with the right dose, and for the right duration.