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News Release – Choosing Wisely Manitoba: Using Antibiotics Wisely

News Release – Choosing Wisely Manitoba: Using Antibiotics Wisely

MANITOBA – It is estimated that up to half of all antibiotic prescriptions that Canadians receive are unnecessary.

This week is World Antibiotic Awareness Week (November 12 – 18). Choosing Wisely Manitoba is a proud supporter of the Using Antibiotics Wisely campaign, led by Choosing Wisely Canada, a national initiative.

This national campaign focuses on developing and disseminating resources for clinicians and patients to help reduce unnecessary antibiotic use. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness by providing clinicians and patients with evidence based tools and materials to support conversations about unnecessary antibiotic prescribing.

“The overuse of antibiotics is a major contributor to antibiotic resistance and is threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases,” said Dr. Richard Rusk, Medical Officer of Health, Communicable Disease Control unit at Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living, and Choosing Wisely Manitoba Clinical Champion. “The evidence is strong. Using antibiotics when you don’t need them increases the risk of antibiotic resistance, which renders antibiotics ineffective when you need them in the future. If we do not start changing our practice in antibiotic use now, we could be faced with a serious medical crisis in the future.”

To support change, Choosing Wisely Canada has also developed over 20 recommendations that encourage judicious antibiotic use, created by over 15 national specialty societies.

“There are many misconceptions surrounding antibiotics and what they treat,” said Dr. Eric Bohm, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Concordia Joint Replacement Group and Executive Co-Sponsor of Choosing Wisely Manitoba. “Antibiotics fight bacterial infections like strep throat, whooping cough, and bladder infections, but they do not fight viruses. Unfortunately, no amount of antibiotics will get rid of your cold, flu, or sinus infection.”

Using antibiotics when you don’t need them can also cause unwanted side effects that range from nausea to life threatening allergic reactions. The Using Antibiotics Wisely campaign encourages patients to ask questions about unnecessary antibiotic use.

“92 per cent of antibiotics are prescribed by primary health providers. The best health outcomes occur when patients and clinicians engage in healthy conversations and make educated and effective choices together regarding the course of care,” said Jim Slater, Chief Operating Officer, Shared Health and Choosing Wisely Manitoba Executive Co-Sponsor.

For more information about Using Antibiotics Wisely, visit: choosingwiselycanada.org/campaign/antibiotics.