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Invited Commentary
December 2014

Antibiotic MisuseA Global Crisis

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(12):1920-1921. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.3289

Antibiotics are an essential medical resource. The ability to treat infections not only saves lives but provides a safety net for medical advances that now seem routine: trauma surgery, cancer chemotherapy, and stem cell and organ transplantation—each inherently reliant on effective antibiotics in order to deliver their life-saving potential. Antibiotic resistance has developed and spread predictably since the advent of the first antibiotics and with each new drug brought to market. To make matters worse, Clostridium difficile infection as a consequence of antibiotic misuse is resulting in increasingly severe disease.1 Whereas the selective pressure of antibiotics on human pathogens inevitably drives the development of resistance, it must not be allowed to happen as rapidly as it has. Particularly at a time when alternatives to existing antibiotic classes are limited, we have an obligation to preserve the effectiveness of available drugs for as long as possible.

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