How to measure and monitor antimicrobial consumption and resistance

Santiago Grau, Germán Bou, Esther Fondevilla, Jordi Nicolás, Manuel Rodríguez-Maresca, Luis Martínez-Martínez

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Collateral damage caused by antibiotic use includes resistance, which could be reduced if the global inappropriate use of antibiotics, especially in low-income countries, could be prevented. Surveillance of antimicrobial consumption can identify and target practice areas for quality improvement, both in the community and in healthcare institutions. The defined daily dose, the usual adult dose of an antimicrobial for treating one patient for one day, has been considered useful for measuring antimicrobial prescribing trends within a hospital. Various denominators from hospital activity including beds, admissions and discharges have been used to obtain some standard ratios for comparing antibiotic consumption between hospitals and countries. Laboratory information systems in Clinical Microbiology Services are the primary resource for preparing cumulative reports on susceptibility testing results. This information is useful for planning empirical treatment and for adopting infection control measures. Among the supranational initiatives on resistance surveillance, the EARS-Net provides information about trends on antimicrobial resistance in Europe. Resistance is the consequence of the selective pressure of antibiotics, although in some cases these agents also promote resistance by favouring the emergence of mutations that are subsequently selected. Multiple studies have shown a relationship between antimicrobial use and emergence or resistance. While in some cases a decrease in antibiotic use was associated with a reduction in resistance rates, in many other situations this has not been the case, due to co-resistance and/or the low biological cost of the resistance mechanisms involved. New antimicrobial agents are urgently needed, which coupled with infection control measures will help to control the current problem of antimicrobial resistance. © 2013 Elsevier España, S.L.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-24
JournalEnfermedades Infecciosas y Microbiologia Clinica
Issue numberSUPPL. 4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2013


  • Antimicrobial consumption
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Bacterial fitness
  • Defined daily dose
  • Surveillance

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