No change in hospital antibiotic use overall in recent years

Levaquin IV bag

The team analyzed both adult and pediatric antibiotic use in 300 acute care hospitals.

Concerns about the over-prescribing of antibiotics have always been voiced, but the problem still persists, according to a CDC study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers have found that as people are given antibiotics at higher rates, bacteria can become more resistant to the drugs.

Whatever the reason, the authors conclude that the trend is worrisome given the rising problem of antibiotic resistance.

Mehrotra, who co-authored an accompanying journal editorial, said that increase in use of this class of antibiotics raises concern as this could lead to bacteria that are broadly resistant. Over that six-year period, more than 34 million patients were discharged from the hospitals and 55 percent of them took at least one dose of an antibiotic during their stay. The researchers also found that for every 1,000 days of hospitalization, 755 of these days included antibiotic therapy. Rather, they believe it comes from external pressure, which often causes doctors to prescribe antibiotics in order to find a solution as fast as they can.

In recent years, the use of antibiotic among patients in USA hospitals in general has not changed at all, and the use of a few antibiotics, particularly broad spectrum agents, however, has significantly increased. And doctors know they are prescribing too many antibiotics, he added.

Srinivasan, who is associate director of health care associated infection prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that it is possible that doctors are prescribing more antibiotics in attempt to treat more hard infections that aren’t eliminated by older medications. But doctors still give several patients antibiotics they do not necessarily need and even know that they are prescribing too many antibiotics, he continued. So instead of focusing on the public health consequences of antibiotic misuse, doctors could focus on side effects, like rashes, diarrhea, and Clostridium difficile infections. “Doctors are human, they’re anxious, they’re behind, they’re concerned about what the patient wants”.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), patients who are unnecessarily exposed to antibiotics are placed at risk for serious adverse events with no clinical benefit.

Other strategies suggested include feedback that compares a physician’s prescribing habits with those of peers, and order entry systems that force doctors to provide a publicly visible justification for prescribing an antibiotic.

A new study shows that prescription rates did not decrease between 2006 and 2012, despite growing evidence that many drugs given to patients were not actually necessary.

“We need investment in new diagnostic tools, antibiotics and alternatives to antibiotics”, he said.

Notably, antibiotics and antibiotic resistant diseases are a global problem presently, and a topic which will be discussed this week at the United Nations General Assembly.