Half of hospitalized Americans are prescribed antibiotics

Half of hospitalized Americans prescribed antibiotics
Half of hospitalized Americans prescribed antibiotics

HealthDay News – Antibiotics that are more likely to promote the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are found in nearly half of all hospitals in the United States, results of a study published in of the Journal of the American Medical Association indicate.

“Inappropriate antimicrobial drug use is associated with adverse events in hospitalized patients and contributes to the emergence and spread of resistant pathogens,” noted Shelley S. Magill, MD, PHD, of the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues.

To determine the prevalence of and describe the rationale for antimicrobial use in hospitals, the investigators conducted one-day prevalence surveys in acute care hospitals in 10 states between May and September 2011.

Of the 11,282 patients surveyed, 50% were prescribed antibiotics on a given day, and about half of those patients were prescribed two or more antibiotics.

Lower respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, and skin or soft tissue infections were the most common reasons for antibiotics. Of the patients, 79.5% received antibiotics to treat infections, and 19.0% received them to reduce the risk of infection during surgeries.

Of the 7,641 drugs prescribed to treat infections, the most common included:

Drug prescribed Percentage of patients
Parenteral vancomycin 14.4%
Ceftriaxone 10.8%
Piperacillin-tazobactam 10.3%
Ceftriaxone 10.8%
Levofloxacin 9.1%

Broad-spectrum drugs and drugs that treat resistant bacteria were often prescribed for patients outside of intensive care units and for community-onset infections.

“Further work is needed to understand the settings and indications for which reducing antimicrobial use can be most effectively and safely accomplished,” added the researchers.

References

  1. Magill SS et al. JAMA. 2014; doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.12923
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