Antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) reduce antibiotic prescriptions and consumption of antibiotics, according to a review and meta-analysis published in JAMA Network Open. Günther Fink, PhD, and colleagues examined the association between ASPs and consumption of antibiotics globally. A total of 52 studies with 1.7 million participants were included: 40 in high-income countries and 12 in low- and middle-income countries. ASPs were associated with a reduction of 10% in antibiotic prescriptions and a 28% decrease in consumption of antibiotics (rate ratio [RR], 0.72). In pediatric hospitals, there was a 21% reduction in antibiotic consumption noted in association
with ASPs. Furthermore, a 28% reduction was seen in WHO Watch group antibiotics in association with ASPs (RR, 0.72). “ASPs were also associated with reduced consumption of antibiotics on the WHO Watch list, with particularly
high risk of selection of bacterial resistance,” Dr. Fink and colleagues wrote. “In light of concerning increased use of Watch antibiotics globally, this is good news.”