Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship

At a glance

  • Antibiotic stewardship is the effort to measure and improve how antibiotics are prescribed by clinicians and used by patients.
  • CDC's Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship offer providers and facilities a set of key principles to guide efforts to improve antibiotic use and, therefore, advance patient safety and improve outcomes.


Improving antibiotic prescribing and use is critical to effectively treat infections, protect patients from harms caused by unnecessary antibiotic use, and combat antibiotic resistance.

These frameworks complement existing guidelines and standards from key healthcare partner organizations, including the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, American Society of Health System Pharmacists, Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists, and The Joint Commission.

CDC recognizes that there is no "one size fits all" approach to optimize antibiotic use for all settings. The complexity of medical decision-making surrounding antibiotic use and the variability in facility size and types of care in U.S. healthcare settings require flexible programs and activities.