Italian Medicines Agency Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco

Campaign "Antibiotics? Use them with caution" (2009)

Campaign "Antibiotics? Use them with caution"

The development of antibiotic resistance in Italy and in all European countries, linked to the increase and inappropriate use of antibiotics, constitutes a problem of particular importance for the protection of citizens' health, so much so that international institutions such as the ECDC have launched the alarm and have invited the Member States to implement communication initiatives aimed at the general population to counter this phenomenon.

With this in mind, the Italian Medicines Agency, the National Institute of Health (ISS) and the Ministry of Health have arranged the ad hoc communication campaign 'Antibiotics, use them with caution' with the aim of informing citizens of the importance of not taking antibiotics to treat viral infections, to resort to antibiotics only when necessary and upon a medical prescription ascertaining their effective usefulness and to never interrupt therapy before the time indicated by the doctor or, in any case, only following his/her indication.

In order to reach the general population, the Campaign involves the use of various communication tools including the national and local daily press, magazines, women's and web newspapers, ads on national and local television, radio and cinemas. Furthermore, the messages will also be disseminated through billboards in railway stations and urban areas, street furniture, dynamic urban advertising on buses and through the dedicated website. Finally, citizens will receive answers to questions on the correct use of antibiotics through the AIFA toll-free number 800-571661.

The action of raising awareness within the general population, especially in those regions where the consumption of antibiotics is higher, is all the more necessary since some important pathogens have already developed levels of antibiotic resistance up to 90% and some strains have become resistant to all 100 antibiotics available, so much so that in the near future there is a fear of no longer having any drug to fight infections.

A determining factor in the development of antibiotic resistance is the consumption increase.

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