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CDC Seeks Safer Healthcare Through Better Antibiotic Prescribing in Hospitals — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
March 5, 2014

CDC Seeks Safer Healthcare Through Better Antibiotic Prescribing in Hospitals

By Joe Elia

Roughly a quarter of Clostridium difficile infections could be prevented if hospital prescriptions for high-risk antibiotics were cut by a third, the CDC says in a Vital Signs issue entitled "Antibiotic Rx in Hospitals: Proceed with Caution."

The risky antibiotics include fluoroquinolones, beta-lactams with beta-lactamase inhibitors, and extended-spectrum cephalosporins. The CDC estimates that some 250,000 C. difficile infections occur each year in hospitalized patients, causing 14,000 deaths.

The fact that physicians in some hospitals prescribe up to three times as many antibiotics as physicians in others suggests the need for reforms. To that end, the CDC is encouraging "antibiotic stewardship programs" in which, for example, a single pharmacist would be appointed to support a hospital's improved prescribing.

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