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 to 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, minimising 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
Maximising limited resources
- Regardless of the amount of resources any hospital can access, none are 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
- 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
- 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