Using Antibiotics Wisely

Unnecessary antibiotic use is a direct contributor to antimicrobial resistance – one of the most serious health threats facing our world today.  Over 23 million antibiotic prescriptions are written for human consumption in Canada, 30-50% of which are estimated to be unnecessary.

Wide use of antibiotics breeds ‘superbugs.’ These are bacteria that become resistant to 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 is a national campaign to help clinicians and patients engage in conversations about unnecessary antibiotic use. Using Antibiotics Wisely has launched targeted campaigns in different practice settings and developed tools and resources that encourage conversations about inappropriate antibiotic use. Visit our links below for additional campaign tools and resources developed for each setting.

Using Antibiotics Wisely is organized by Choosing Wisely Canada, with the support from Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), as well as The College of Family Physicians of Canada, and aligns with the Pan-Canadian Framework on Antimicrobial Resistance.

Primary Care

Using Antibiotics Wisely has focused its efforts on reducing unnecessary antibiotic use in the community, where over 90% of antibiotics are prescribed. It is estimated that up to 30-50% of antibiotics prescribed for respiratory tract infections in primary care are unnecessary. To help reduce unnecessary antibiotic use for respiratory  tract infections, the campaign has developed a number of tools and resources to help family physicians ‘choose wisely’ in practice.

Primary Care

Long-Term Care

Many older adults receive antibiotics for urinary tract infections (UTIs) even though they do not have UTI symptoms. This can cause unwanted side effects and lead to other serious complications. To help reduce unnecessary antibiotic use for asymptomatic bacteria, we are launching new practice change recommendations and resources for interprofessional teams working in long-term care settings.

Long-Term Care

Hospital

Antibiotic resistance makes it difficult to fight infections that can lead to more and longer hospital stays. Choosing Wisely Canada has over 15 recommendations developed by national clinician societies that encourage the judicious use of antibiotics in hospital settings.

Hospital

Using Antibiotics Wisely Patient Resources