There are growing concerns with rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR) across countries. These concerns are enhanced by the increasing and inappropriate utilization of ‘Watch’ antibiotics with their greater resistance potential, AMR is further exacerbated by the increasing use of antibiotics to treat patients with COVID-19 despite little evidence of bacterial infections. Currently, little is known about antibiotic utilization patterns in Albania in recent years, including the pandemic years, the influence of an ageing population, as well as increasing GDP and greater healthcare governance. Consequently, total utilization patterns in the country were tracked from 2011 to 2021 alongside key indicators. Key indicators included total utilization as well as changes in the use of ‘Watch’ antibiotics. Antibiotic consumption fell from 27.4 DIDs (defined daily doses per 1000 inhabitants per day) in 2011 to 18.8 DIDs in 2019, which was assisted by an ageing population and improved infrastructures. However, there was an appreciable increase in the use of ‘Watch’ antibiotics during the study period. Their utilization rose from 10% of the total utilization among the top 10 most utilized antibiotics (DID basis) in 2011 to 70% by 2019. Antibiotic utilization subsequently rose after the pandemic to 25.1 DIDs in 2021, reversing previous downward trends. Alongside this, there was increasing use of ‘Watch’ antibiotics, which accounted for 82% (DID basis) of the top 10 antibiotics in 2021. In conclusion, educational activities and antimicrobial stewardship programs are urgently needed in Albania to reduce inappropriate utilization, including ‘Watch’ antibiotics, and hence AMR.
- AWaRe classification
- antimicrobial resistance
- antimicrobial stewardship programs
- drug utilization
- healthcare policy
- healthcare professional education