AMS Pharmacist – Role Of A Pharmacist In Antimicrobial Stewardship

AMS Pharmacist: Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) simply means organized programs or interventions that focus on the proper and rational use of Antimicrobial to improve therapeutic outcomes and reduce Drug resistance.



Therefore, it is the core duty of an AMS Pharmacist or any other antimicrobial steward in the health sector to make sure that the misuse or overuse of antimicrobial is discouraged.


However, According to Clinical Microbiology and Infection (CMI), “Antimicrobial stewardship originated within human healthcare, it is increasingly applied in broader contexts including animal health and one Health”. Therefore, it means different things to different countries, different literature, and different health care bodies.

Nevertheless, irrespective of the differences in the AMS definition, the core interest of every steward is to minimize the incidence and occurrence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by the proper use of antibiotics.

The emergence of organisms that can resist different classes of Antimicrobials has become a great nightmare. The leading cause of this nightmare is the use of antibiotics without a Prescription. A survey with 35 communities from five continents showed that non-prescription use of Antimicrobials occurred worldwide and accounted for 19–100% of antimicrobial use outside of northern Europe and North America.

AMR is the leading cause of death globally. In European countries alone, AMR is responsible for 33,000 deaths per year and costs EUR 1.5 billion per year in healthcare costs and productivity losses.


In addition, irrational use of antibiotics are Drug therapy problems, Longer stay in the hospital, increase cost of treatment, and death.

The AMS Pharmacist

According to the Centers for disease and control prevention, one of the core elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs is to appoint drug expertise or a Pharmacist who will be responsible for working to improve antibiotic use. In summary, these responsibilities can extend to other aspects of pharmacy such as the primary health care setting and community pharmacy.

Generally, the core duties of an AMS pharmacist include;

  • Procurement of cost-effective drugs that will be part of the hospital drug essential list.
  • To be part of the decision-making process as regards choosing the right antibiotic for a patient.
  • Drug monitoring and documentation to make sure the use of antibiotics is optimized.
  • Pharmacovigilance and report of Adverse drug reactions that may arise from Antibiotic use.
  • Organizing seminars and other educative platforms to create awareness among other health professionals and patients on the ways to improve antibiotic use.

However, in community settings and primary health care homes, the responsibilities are the same but an additional effort is required in making clinical decisions when filling a prescription or treating a common illness.

Nevertheless, the AMS pharmacist may not be effective in carrying out these responsibilities if he is not equipped with proper knowledge and current information on the rational use of antibiotics. Therefore, additional education is a prerequisite to becoming a good AMS pharmacist.

Role of an AMS Pharmacist in improving antimicrobial stewardship

Antimicrobial stewardship is the responsibility of all health care team teams. But, there are specific roles a pharmacist should play to make sure that AMS is effective both in primary and secondary health care facilities. Below are some of the roles of a Pharmacist in Antimicrobial stewardship;

Ensuring good supply chain management and antibiotic regulation

One of the leading causes of antimicrobial resistance is the weak implementation in the regulation of antibiotics.  In developing countries where antibiotics are sold as over-the-counter drugs, there is a great tendency for antibiotics to be misused.

Nevertheless, even the developed countries with working drug regulatory bodies have a take to drug misuse through self-medication. A study in Europe has that 73 to 449 per 1000 adults practices self-medication when it comes to antibiotics used for minor ailments such as sore throat.

In summary, it is a basic obligation of a pharmacist to make sure that these antibiotics are not easily available to every Dick and Harry.

Discourage unnecessary drug therapy:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 20-50% of all antibiotics prescribed in U.S. acute care hospitals are either unnecessary or inappropriate. Also, in primary care, the use of antibiotics to treat diseases such as sore throat, common cold, acute otitis media, acute infective conjunctivitis, acute bronchitis, and acute sinusitis have a limited value.7 Hence, antibiotic use can be a last resort to these ailments.

Encourage the patients to follow their Antibiotic course

It is a common thing for one to stop an antibiotic earlier than prescribed when one feels relieved from the symptoms. In any case, this is the wrong way to use antibiotics since organisms that manage to survive when the antibiotic is withdrawn tend to easily form resistance to that particular antibiotic.

Consequently, the pharmacist has to make sure the frequency, dose, and duration of antibiotics are clear to patients. Also, drug monitoring can help the pharmacist keep track of adherence or compliance.

Educate patients on the dangers of the wrong use of antibiotics

Ignorance and lack of education have a contributing effect on the way patients see and use antibiotics. The problem arises when the Pharmacists at the point of dispensing assume the patients know the right thing to do with their antibiotics. Even if they do, always try to remind them of the dangers of not using antibiotics the way they should.

Therefore, during patient counseling, the pharmacist should stress the dangers of Antibiotic Misuse and self-medication.

Assist in making clinical judgments

Pharmacists should be part of ward rounds and patient reviews. Antimicrobial stewardship is a joint effort from all the professionals. A contribution from a pharmacist during clinical judgment and implementation will help to improve the rational use of antibiotics.

Good dispensing practice

The pharmacist must make sure that the prescriptions they fill are valid. This can be done by checking the date the prescription was written and from what Authority it is coming.

Also, in the community settings where pharmacists can prescribe antibiotics for treatment purposes. Each prescription must be given based on standing evidence of antimicrobial sensitivity from a laboratory result.

Improve Pharmaceutical researches

The fields of pharmacognosy and pharmaceutical chemistry have so much potential in bringing forth new antibiotics that will replace or substitute the old ones.

Commonly, organisms have developed resistance to most conventional antibiotics. Therefore, there is a need to make available drugs from other sources which will be effective in addressing these resistant organisms. Proper research from pharmacists can help ease the burden of antimicrobial resistance.

To incorporate AMS as a part of training for Pharmacist education

Finally, it is difficult to do well as an AMS pharmacist without proper knowledge of the resistance pattern of microorganisms to antibiotics. Hence, training pharmacists in the field of antimicrobial stewardship can help them when making the right decision on how to procure, store and dispense antibiotics.

To prompt physicians on antibiotic time outs

Usually, upon admission to the hospital, empirical use of antibiotics is inevitable while waiting for the laboratory data to be out. This period can last 48 – 72 hours. Time out is a period when the physicians will review the patient and decide if the patient should be on antibiotics or not. Also, to access if the patient is on the right antibiotic or not.

The pharmacist must prompt the physicians when time out is due for a patient.8


Antimicrobial stewardship is a joint effort of the medical team. But, the AMS pharmacist is obliged to be more careful since he is the last defense line to make sure the right antibiotics are used by patients. Therefore, any laxity on his part will cause a therapy failure, adverse drug reaction, or even death.

Therefore, Pharmacists should be grounded in the field of Antimicrobial Stewardship and Resistance to be renowned AMS pharmacists.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *