petri dishes

Project

Antibiotic Resistance Project

Antibiotics are among the most frequently prescribed drugs in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as much as 50 percent of the prescriptions—originating in hospitals and outpatient settings, such as primary care clinics—are unnecessary or inappropriately prescribed.

The overuse and misuse of antibiotics adds to the growing threat of drug-resistant bacteria. Pew focuses on reducing the inappropriate antibiotic use in human health care settings and on expanding the use of effective stewardship programs that are designed to ensure antibiotics are used only when needed and prescribed at the proper dose for the right duration.

Pills
Patient
Report

Antibiotic Use in Outpatient Settings

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Report

Antibiotic use in outpatient health care settings, such as primary care offices and emergency rooms, represents the majority of dollars spent on antibiotics for human health care in the United States. Beginning in 2015, The Pew Charitable Trusts convened a panel of experts, including representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health and medical experts to analyze current outpatient antibiotic prescribing habits in the United States, determine targets for reducing inappropriate prescribing, and identify steps needed to reach these targets.

Doctors
Doctors
Report

A Path to Better Antibiotic Stewardship in Inpatient Settings

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Report

Antibiotics should be used only to treat bacterial infections, and should be prescribed only in doses and for durations appropriate for the patient and infection being treated. Yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 50 percent of all antibiotics prescribed in the U.S. are unnecessary or inappropriate, with many of them prescribed in inpatient settings.

Doctor giving patient a note
Doctor giving patient a note
Article

Improved Antibiotic Use in Outpatient Settings Is Critical

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Article

All antibiotic use contributes to resistance, and appropriate antibiotic use is key to slowing the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and protecting patient safety. Yet a third of the antibiotics prescribed in outpatient settings such as doctors’ offices and emergency departments—about 47 million prescriptions annually—are unnecessary.

Health care
Health care
Fact Sheet

Unnecessary Antibiotic Use and Patient Safety

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Fact Sheet

Many antibiotics prescribed in the United States are unnecessary or inappropriate. Improved antibiotic stewardship is needed, not only to curb the threat of antibiotic resistance but also to avoid exposing patients to unnecessary risks.

Additional Resources

Data Visualization

Antibiotics and Human Health Care

The more they are used, the less effective antibiotics become. When people take antibiotics, drug-resistant bacteria survive and can be passed to other individuals.

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Data Visualization

The more they are used, the less effective antibiotics become. When people take antibiotics, drug-resistant bacteria survive and can be passed to other individuals.