The Doctor Is In : Antibiotics & Antibiotic Resistance

This content is sponsored and provided by Henry Ford Health System 

Expert: Allison Weinmann, M.D., Henry Ford Health System infectious diseases physician.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the world's most pressing public health threats, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While antibiotics are the most important tool to control life-threatening bacterial diseases, they can have side effects. Up to 60% of patients receive unnecessary antibiotics. This overuse that has led to the development of a host of drug-resistant germs.

Henry Ford Health System has an Antimicrobial Stewardship Program with goals to improve patient safety and outcomes, reduce antibiotic use, and limit drug resistance. Our commitment is to only prescribe antibiotics when appropriate. Projects have focused on reducing giving antibiotics when they are known to be ineffective and may actually cause harm. Patients often request antibiotics for viral infections like a cold, bronchitis or ear infections, when in fact they are not effective at treating viral infections. In September 2018, Henry Ford joined more than 100 organizations worldwide to participate in a campaign to combat the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

Henry Ford has also embarked on a "shorter is better" initiative that calls for a shorter duration of antibiotic therapy for certain bacterial infections. Henry Ford providers say a shorter duration of three to seven days may be the preferred therapy choice in place of the standard duration of seven to 14 days.

The shorter therapy initiative is focused on common bacterial infections such as:
Cellulitis, a skin infection.
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) acute exacerbation
Community-acquired pneumonia
Urinary tract infections.

Ultimately, the most appropriate length of treatment will be determined by your provider based on multiple factors. Patients should never take it upon themselves to shorten the duration of their therapy and should take their medicine as prescribed.