Antimicrobial resistance

Optimal use of antimicrobial medicines in human and animal health

Objective 4: Optimize the use of antimicrobial medicines in human and animal health


To increase the longevity of antimicrobials, clinical, pharmacy, and veterinary practices must eliminate unnecessary dispensing.

Evidence based prescribing through effective, rapid, low-cost diagnostic tools are needed to optimize use of antimicrobials for humans and animals. In addition to better prescribing practices, the global community must adjust patients’ and the agricultural industry’s inappropriate and unregulated use of antimicrobial agents.

Stronger compliance to antibiotic treatment regimes, quality assurance measures to prevent consumption of substandard medications, and restrictions of non-therapeutic uses of antibiotics within agriculture will provide a foundation for antimicrobial stewardship. Regulations for antibiotic distribution, quality, and use could preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics as a public good.

Antimicrobial use

Because of their widespread availability and familiarity, generally low cost, and relative safety, antimicrobials are among the most misused of all medicines.

Surveillance of antimicrobial use

• Tracking antimicrobial consumption and use behavior
• WHO Guidelines for surveillance of antimicrobial use