The World Health Organisation (WHO) has appealed for careful antibiotic use in order to preserve their effectiveness for when they are truly needed. To advise doctors on which antibiotics to use for common infections and which to preserve for the most serious ones, the WHO have divided antibiotics into three categories in its Model List of Essential Medicines: Access, Watch and Reserve.
- The Access group comprises antibiotics that are first and second choices for common infections, which should be widely available.
- The Watch group includes antibiotic classes that should be prescribed only if there is a higher risk of bacterial resistance developing.
- The Reserve group consists of last-resort options.
Source: WHO Europe, 5 January 2019