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Antibiotics guidance shake-up

Wednesday June 7th, 2017

A major shake-up of antibiotics classification has been announced in a bid to ensure careful use of the drugs.

The World Health Organisation now classes antibiotics as "access," "watch" and "reserve."

The latest version of its essential medicines list sets out when each category of drugs should be used.

It applies to the antibiotics used to treat 21 common infections.

The ACCESS list includes amoxicillin while the WATCH group includes ciprofloxacin.

Colistin and cephalosporins have been places in the RESERVE group.

Dr Suzanne Hill, from WHO, said: “The rise in antibiotic resistance stems from how we are using—and misusing—these medicines.

“The new WHO list should help health system planners and prescribers ensure people who need antibiotics have access to them, and ensure they get the right one, so that the problem of resistance doesn’t get worse.”

The new system was welcomed by the Royal College of GPs in the UK.

Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “GPs and other prescribers must have access to guidance and tools that help us prescribe safely for all conditions, in the best interests of individual patients and public health globally – and this updated Essential Medicines List should be useful in our daily practice.

“It’s important that the list is constantly evaluated and updated as new research is published, in a way that best preserves the efficacy of the drugs we have available to us for as long as possible, in the long-term interests of the health of our global population."

[Essential Medicines]

Tags: Pharmaceuticals | UK News | World Health

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