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ALERT: CDC Found No Change in Antibiotic Use in Hospitals in Recent Years

Sep 20, 2016 04:10 AM EDT

The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that about 55 percent of inpatients during the six-year period received at least one dose of antibiotics during their hospitalization. CDC officials are alarmed with the high and unchanging rate of antibiotic use in hospitals in the U.S. Excessive use of antibiotics could lead to the development of tougher and stronger bacteria that are very resistant to drugs.

"While the optimal level of antibiotic use or distribution of classes is not really known for every hospital, we know from other studies that inpatient prescribing of antibiotics for some infections is often inappropriate," said James Baggs, an epidemiologist at CDC and lead author of the study, in a report from Reuters.

For the study, the researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of adult and pediatric inpatient antibiotic use from the Truven Health MarketScan Hospital Drug Database (HDD) from Jan. 1, 2006, to Dec. 31, 2012. These include data from 300 hospitals and more than 34 million patients, totaling to 166 million patient-days.

The researchers found out that the overall antibiotic use did not significantly change during the six-year study period. However, the use of some classes of antibiotics has significantly increase. These include macrolides, glycopeptides, carbapenems, tetracyclines and third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins.

Additionally, the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, which is considered to be a nuke against wide variety of bacteria, has increased between 2006 and 2012. The increased use of broad-spectrum antibiotics could lead to the development of bacteria that is broadly-resistant to many class of antibiotics. The total number of days of therapy has also increased by 5.6 percent.

These findings could help inform national efforts to improve antibiotic use by suggesting key targets for improvement interventions.

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