Antibiotic Resistance Program Focuses on Urinary Tract Infections

By Petrina Smith
Thursday, 20 November, 2014

The next phase of the NPS MedicineWise Reducing Antibiotic Resistance program for health professionals focuses on the complex topic of managing urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Women have a one-in-three chance of developing a urinary tract infection in their lifetime, which is about 50 times more than for men, and the likelihood of experiencing a UTI increases with age in both men and women.
UTIs can cause distressing symptoms and antibiotic treatment is usually indicated. Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria—known to cause between 80% and 90% of uncomplicated UTIs—has been highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a bacteria of concern because of growing levels of antibiotic resistance worldwide. E. coli now displays resistance rates to over 50% of commonly used antibiotics.
“Research has shown that when people in the community are prescribed antibiotics to treat a UTI, the bacteria in their bodies may develop resistance to antibiotics that can persist for up to 12 months,” says NPS MedicineWise clinical adviser Dr Philippa Binns. “This can then lead to an increased number of people carrying bacteria that are resistant to first-line antibiotics which can be spread to family members and throughout the community, as well as an increased likelihood that second-line antibiotics will need to be used within the community setting.”
The new interactive NPS MedicineWise case study: Urinary tract infections – exploring antibiotic treatment is now available online and provides a real life clinical scenario with expert commentary from leading infectious diseases physician and microbiologist, Dr Tony Korman from Monash University and questions to help participants focus on their clinical decision making.
“The case study about an 82-year-old woman highlights using antibiotics responsibly, and reinforces health professional knowledge on the risk to patient safety posed by antibiotic resistance,” says Dr Binns.
Case study participants receive instant feedback and are able to compare their approach with their peers. The case study can be completed on a computer, tablet or smart phone, and participants can switch seamlessly between devices. Several key concepts are covered, including:

  • Diagnosing urinary tract infections (UTIs)

  • Managing asymptomatic bacteriuria

  • Identifying empirical treatment and alternative management for UTIs

  • Identifying non-pharmacological interventions

  • Recurrent UTI prophylaxis.

For more information about the case study, visit
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