Global antibiotic consumption soared 65% in 16 years

Antibiotic use increased 65 percent worldwide from 2000 to 2015, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For the study, researchers analyzed antibiotic consumption trends for 76 countries documented in a database that uses national sample surveys on antibiotic sales to develop estimates of nationwide antibiotic consumption. Overall, annual global antibiotic use increased from 21.1 billion doses in 2000 to 34.8 billion doses in 2015.

The rise was largely attributable to surges in consumption rates among low-income and middle-income nations with growing populations. The nation's with the most substantial increases in antibiotic consumption during the study period included India with a 103 percent increase, China with a 79 percent increase and Pakistan with a 65 percent increase. While Western nations did not see a sharp rise in antibiotic use, they failed to reduce consumption, despite national and international health agencies' calls for antibiotic stewardship during the study period.

"With antibiotic consumption increasing worldwide, the challenge posed by antibiotic resistance is likely to get worse," wrote the study's authors. "Radical rethinking of policies to reduce consumption is necessary. … While more study is needed to understand the risks of radical reductions in consumption, immediate strategies are necessary to reduce mortality among the millions of people who die from resistant infections annually."

Global antibiotic consumption increased by 65% between 2000 and 2015, from 21.1 to 34.8 billion DDDs, while the antibiotic consumption rate increased 39% from 11.3 to 15.7 DDDs per 1,000 inhabitants per day over the study period.

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