After completing this course, you will be able to

  • Summarize the mechanism of action of the major classes of antimicrobial agents.
  • Outline the clinical indications for the most commonly used drugs in the major classes.
  • Appreciate the spectrum of activity and risk of adverse reactions for drugs in each major class.
  • Select initial, empirical antibiotic therapy on the basis of treatment efficacy, severity of illness (e.g., sepsis), and the potential for adverse events—including the development of antibiotic resistance.
  • Select the appropriate drug for a given infection with the lowest risk of facilitating antimicrobial resistance and the lowest risk of promoting C. difficile and other adverse events.
  • Treat for the shortest effective duration.
  • De-escalate initial empiric antimicrobial therapy based on culture results, susceptibility studies, and other diagnostic tests to minimize the use of unnecessary broad-spectrum treatment.
  • Decide when a consultation with an antimicrobial stewardship team and / or infectious diseases specialist is needed.

Course downloads

Course Handbook

Chapter 1

An introduction to antimicrobials

In this chapter, you’ll learn some general principles of antimicrobial stewardship designed to minimize the problem of antimicrobial resistance and adverse effects.
6 Lessons (23m 49s)
Chapter 3


Learn how to deal with fungi. In this chapter, you’ll learn the basic mechanisms of action, principal uses, and important side effects of common antifungal agents.
7 Lessons (14m 59s)
Chapter 4


Here, the main focus will be on influenza and other viruses. You’ll cover neuraminidase inhibitors and chain terminators for treating influenza, herpes, and cytomegalovirus infections.
5 Lessons (17m 15s)