Study: Antibiotic Overuse Common in Long-Term Care Facilities

Antibiotic treatment courses in long-term care facilities often exceed the time in which most common bacterial infections can be treated, which may contribute to antibiotic resistance, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotic courses of seven or fewer days, according to the study. Researchers studied antibiotic treatment course decisions for adults aged 66 years or older in 630 long-term care facilities in Ontario, Canada, in 2010.

While seven days was most often chosen as the antibiotic treatment course length, 44.9 percent of antibiotic treatment courses exceeded seven days. Of the physicians who prescribed 20 or more antibiotic treatment courses, the median proportion of treatment courses exceeding seven days was 43.5 percent. Additionally, 21 percent of physicians prescribed more courses beyond seven days than was expected. The difference in antibiotic prescribing patterns was primarily due to physician preference, and not patient characteristics, according to the study.

The authors suggested future studies should examine how antibiotic stewardship interventions targeting physician preference can reduce antibiotic overuse. 

More Articles on Antimicrobial Stewardship:

Report: Progress on Antibiotics for Drug-Resistant Bacteria "Alarmingly Slow"
Study: Internet-Based Antimicrobial Stewardship Can Reduce Doses, Cost

5 Top Reasons Hospitals Misuse Antimicrobials

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