Anti-bacterial drug use has appeared to increase between 2002 and 2006, and this leads to a subsequent increase in the risk that pathogens will become resistant to these drugs, according to a report in the Nov. 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Researchers using validated claims data at 22 university teaching hospitals from Jan. 1, 2002, to Dec. 31, 2006, found that the average number of anti-bacterial, drug-related days of therapy per 1,000 patient days increased from 798 in 2002 to 855 in 2006. The increase was driven by the use of a broad spectrum drugs as well as vancomycin.
Use of vancomycin, sometimes called the antibiotic of last resort because its used when other treatments fail, increased 43% during the period studied from an average of 87 days of therapy per 1,000 patient days in 2002 to 124 days in 2006. Researchers also noted that it had become the single most commonly used anti-bacterial drug in the hospitals studied between 2004 and 2006. Other drugs whose usage increased dramatically during the period studied were piperacillin-tazobactam, 84%, and carbapenem, 59%.
In order to combat pathogen resistance, the researchers concluded that hospitals implement anti-microbial stewardship programs that stop anti-microbial therapy when the drugs are no longer needed and switch to more narrow-spectrum drug regimens when possible.
The study was funded in part by an investigator-initiated grant from Bayer, which was assumed by Schering-Plough. Three of the four authors disclosed that they had served on the Schering-Plough speakers bureau. -- by Andis Robeznieks