Reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics could collectively save U.S. hospitals more than $1 billion annually while also reducing medical complications, according to a study sponsored by the hospital cooperative VHA. The study measured usage of three widely used antibiotics -- ceftriaxone, levofloxacin and vancomycin -- at 11 different hospitals, focusing on patients being treated preventively against post-surgical infections or patients treated for renal failure or urinary tract infections. The study found that 24% to 68% of the patients were being over-treated or unnecessarily treated. Hospitals could save from $9.43 to $41 per patient on levofloxacin, $56.88 CK? per patient on ceftriaxone, or $71.87 to $400 per patient on vancomycin. Other potential savings could come from reducing antibiotic-related complications such as adverse drug reactions as well as lowering patient monitoring costs, the researchers said. The average 250-bed hospital could save more than $100,000 annually by improving antibiotic usage, they added. The study results were presented last week at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America in San Diego. -- by Cinda Becker
Reduced antibiotic use could save $1 billion
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