Benefits of Antifungal Stewardship

As we have seen this week, antifungal stewardship can be a complex and challenging task. Why should we go to the effort of putting these measures in place? There are a number of benefits antifungal stewardship.

Reducing Antifungal Resistance

  • As we have learnt already in Week 3, exposure to antifungal medications is a main driver for new antifungal resistance
  • A resistance is a threat to our patients, minimizing the rates of antifungal resistance is likely to benefit them
  • Much like with antibiotic resistant bacteria, infections caused by fungi resistant antifungals are challenging and costly to manage. Patients need to receive alternative drugs in these situations, often with higher risk for adverse effects

Maximizing limited resources

  • Regardless of the amount of resources any hospital can access, none is unlimited
  • Avoiding unnecessary antifungal prescriptions will reduce the cost of patient care
  • Even where antifungals are inexpensive, reducing their consumption will reduce the rates of adverse events and days spent in hospital and, thus, the overall cost of patient care

Patient outcomes

  • Antifungal stewardship is not all about money and resistance. Good standards of care and antifungal use is in the interest of each patient
  • Improving diagnostics and confirming the diagnosis of a fungal infection helps to select the right drug for the patient, which is likely to improve their chance of recovery
  • Empiric use of antifungals can give a false feeling of security for the clinical teams and take their focus off from finding the real reason for the patient’s symptoms and delay effective treatment
  • Any adverse effect from unnecessary antifungal treatment is completely avoidable

Improving understanding

  • Beyond the patient centred reasons to improve antifungal stewardship, the benefits can also be academic
  • As more people understand the principles of stewardship, the number of people who can develop new strategies increases
  • Increasing the global knowledge base in this area is likely to benefit the clinician, patient and society in the future

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The Role of Antifungal Stewardship