Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) physicians are observing a national effort aimed at targeting antibiotic resistance. Be Antibiotics Aware is a national effort intended to help fight antibiotic resistance and improve antibiotic prescribing and use.

Antibiotic resistance happens when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. That means the germs are not killed and continue to grow.

Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant germs are difficult and sometimes impossible, to treat. In most cases, antibiotic-resistant infections require extended hospital stays, additional follow-up doctor visits, and costly and toxic alternatives.

Antibiotic resistance does not mean the body is becoming resistant to antibiotics; it is that bacteria have become resistant to the antibiotics designed to kill them.

PMC physicians are encouraging the general public and healthcare providers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

“Antibiotic resistance is now one of the greatest threats to human health,” said PMC Director of Infectious Disease Physician, Fadi Al Akhrass, MD, FACP. “Antibiotics save lives, but any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance.”

“It is important to educate our patients and their families on the importance of the appropriate use of antibiotics,” said Dr. Al Akhrass.

The CDC reported that U.S. doctors’ offices and emergency departments, nationwide provide at least 47 million antibiotic prescriptions each year, which makes improving antibiotic prescribing and use a national priority.

PMC has proudly had an active Antibiotic Microbial Stewardship Program for many years. It consists of physicians, pharmacists, microbiology professions and infection prevention specialists who watch over the use of antibiotics for patients. The program was awarded a Kentucky Hospital Research and Education Foundation  grant  to assist in upgrading PMC’s  pharmacies system to a more effectively manage antimicrobial expenditures.  This will enable PMC to quickly access antimicrobial and microbiology data for insight into resistance rates which will provide better specific patient treatment.

“The goal of this program is to cut down on the overuse of antibiotics in hopes of preventing future complications patients may develop due to the overuse of antibiotics,” said Dr. Al Akhrass.

He says if we use antibiotics when not needed, we may not have them when they are most needed.