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WHO targets antimicrobial resistance in new essential medicines list

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j2809 (Published 09 June 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2809
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. London

The antibiotics colistin and some cephalosporins should only be used when all other treatments have failed, the World Health Organization has said, in a bid to combat anti-microbial resistance.1

In the latest edition of its essential medicines list, updated every two years, WHO has grouped antibiotics into three groups—access, watch, and reserve—indicating which can be used for common infections and which should only be used in rare circumstances.

WHO recommends that antibiotics in the access group, which includes amoxicillin, be available at all times to treat common conditions.

The watch group includes antibiotics that are recommended as first or second choice treatments for a small number of infections. In this group are …

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