AGE welcomes the first European Antibiotic Awareness Day – 18 November 2008

18 November 2008

AGE welcomes the first-ever European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18 November 2008, which aims to inform patients and health professionals about the importance of responsible use of antibiotics. AGE is cooperating with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to promote a more rational and efficient use of antibiotics for older patients.

Patient safety depends greatly on the rational use of medicines. Due to inappropriate or unnecessary use of antibiotics in the last decades, bacteria have become increasingly resistant and antibiotics are less effective for the treatment of many infectious diseases.

It is important to enhance public awareness across Europe on the proper and responsible use of antibiotics. Successful campaigns launched by some governments have proved useful in avoiding the use of antibiotics for viral diseases, such as common colds or flu, and have resulted in a significant reduction of antibiotic consumption.

“Older people and the health professionals need to be made aware of the risk of irrational use of antibiotics, and the potential problems linked to over consumption of such medication.” commented Anne-Sophie Parent, Director of AGE, “but they must also be aware of the specific needs of older patients who are more at risk of developing complications when they catch the flu and for whom a preventive use of antibiotics may sometimes be necessary.”.

This is why AGE also calls on ECDC and Member States to develop targeted campaigns to promote an adequate use of antibiotics for older people and chronically ill.

The European Antibiotic Awareness Day is a European health initiative developed in close collaboration with the World Health Organization, as well as other representative stakeholder groups such as health professionals and scientists. The European Antibiotic Awareness Day will be an annually recurring event. All public authorities, healthcare professionals, child care professionals, social workers as well as private organisations, are encouraged to take part in the initiative and to launch their own activities to promote a responsible use of antibiotics.

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