Study finds barriers remain in combatting antibiotic resistance

The study finds that a majority of physicians don’t see antibiotic resistance is an issue in their own practice.

A new study shows that barriers still remain in the fight against antibiotic-resistant infections.

The study is from the American Medical Association (AMA) and The Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew). It looked at 1,550 U.S. primary care physicians who identified barriers to reducing the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics in outpatient setting. It was published in the journal Open Forum Infectious Disease.

While 94 percent of primary care physicians agree that antibiotic resistance is a problem in the U.S., 55 percent don’t see it as an issue in their own practice ranking it as less important that other public health issues like obesity, diabetes, opioids, smoking, and vaccine hesitancy. An additional 91 percent of respondents say they believe stewardship programs are appropriate for office-based practices, but many say that the focus of these efforts should primarily be on the patients and families, while about half say that tracking antibiotic use would be difficult to do accurately and fairly and that the reporting would be a significant burden for their practice, according to a news release on the study.

“Antibiotic resistance is an impending public health crisis,” AMA President Susan R. Bailey, MD, says in the release. “We are seeing today, as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, what our health system looks like with no or limited treatments available to tackle an outbreak. To stem the rise of antibiotic resistant infections, we must all remain vigilant in combatting the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria and be prudent when prescribing antibiotics. The AMA encourages physicians to prioritize antibiotic stewardship programs in their practices to ensure the appropriate use of antibiotics and improve patient and public health outcomes.”

For more information on the AMA’s efforts to combat the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections check out the AMA Ed Hub which contains educational resources.