Using Antibiotics Wisely

Every year, over 25 million antibiotic prescriptions are written for human consumption in Canada, 30-50% of which are estimated to be unnecessary.

The overuse of antibiotics is a major contributor to antibiotic resistance and is threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, which has been expedited by the overuse of antibiotics. A growing list of infections – such as tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and bacteria that cause pneumonia and urinary tract infections – are becoming harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat as antibiotics become less effective.

One of the ways that we can help fight antibiotic resistance is to use antibiotics more wisely.

Using antibiotics wisely improves patient outcomes, reduces side effects and antimicrobial resistance and optimizes resource utilization. There are over 20 Choosing Wisely Canada recommendations that encourage judicious antibiotic use, created by over 15 national specialty societies. Here they are, organized by practice setting:

Recommendations for Prescribers

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Additional Resources

Tip Sheet for Prescribers

Prescription Handouts for Prescribers


Posters for Patient Waiting Rooms


Patient Resources