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What is Antibiotic Resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to withstand the killing power of antibiotics. In other words, an antibiotic that previously cured an infection does not work as well anymore, or may not work at all, to kill the bacteria. Your infection is not cured or may even worsen.

Antibiotic resistance is an urgent threat to global health, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers it one of their top public health concerns. 

The rates of resistance to antibiotics continue to rise due to overuse of antibiotics, and new antimicrobial agents are slow to be developed. Infections with drug-resistant bacteria may lead to longer and more costly hospital care, and increase the risk of dying from the infection. Dangerous, resistant bacteria known as “superbugs” are being reported. 

Each year over 2.8 million people get an antibiotic-resistance infection, and close to 35,000 people die. The annual costs of fighting the top 6 multi-drug resistant bacteria in the U.S. are over $4.6 billion.

Resistance is not limited to bacteria. Cases of highly-resistance¬†Candida auris, which can lead to severe fungal infections, were described in 2021…

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD.