ACCESS, WATCH, and RESERVE: What are These Terms and How Do They Relate to Antibiotics?

June 16, 2017 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​New recommendations on which antibiotics should be commonly used and which should be preserved for the most serious circumstances are among the additions to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Model List of Essential Medicines for 2017, WHO announced on June 6, 2017. In the most substantial update to the list in its 40-year history, WHO divided antibiotics into three categories: ACCESS, WATCH, and RESERVE. Drugs that fall into the ACCESS group, such as amoxicillin, should be available at all times in order to treat a wide range of common infections. Drugs in the WATCH category include first- or second-choice treatments, such as levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin, whose use should be dramatically reduced to avoid further development of resistance.

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