Access, Watch and Reserve Antibiotics in the WHO Essential Medicines List

WHO has released its updated Essential Medicines List, for adults and children (See here). The Antibiotics’ list has been completely updated, and now includes 3 categories, intended to help target stewardship activities:
1. the ACCESS antibiotics are first- and second-choice options for common infections; they should be available in all countries and all facilities


2. the WATCH group includes antibiotic classes that should be prescribed only for specific indications, since they are at higher risk of bacterial resistance. Some ACCESS antibiotics, such as ceftriaxone or azithromycin, are also part of the WATCH group.


3. and the RESERVE group is made up of last-resort options, such as colistin or IV fosfomycin.

Antibiotics belonging to the WATCH and RESERVE group should be particularly targeted by Antibiotic stewardship programmes, at national and international levels.
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