Antibiotics (Ab) are one of the most important class of medical drugs. Thanks to their discovery and widespread use, bacterial infections that used to be fatal are now treated in a few days. However, these advances came at a cost. When exposed to Ab, bacterial populations can quickly become resistant to them. Indeed, nowadays infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria are a serious health problem.
The best way to prevent the evolution of new resistances is to only use Ab when they are necessary. In order to assess how antibiotics are prescribed in Portugal and what we can do to reduce their inappropriate use, we have initiated a collaboration with the Ministry of Health. With their database of medical prescriptions we will: 1) characterize the distribution of antibiotic prescription by medical doctors and identify causes of over-prescription; 2)identify the gold standard for antibiotic prescription for the Portuguese population; and 3) propose interventions to reduce Ab prescription.