Hospital pharmacists' reinforcement of guidelines for switching from parenteral to oral antibiotics: a pilot study
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Objective: The cost of antibiotics in hospitals may be reduced by streamlining, and, particularly, by early switching from the intravenous (i.v.) to the oral route of administration. The aim of the study was to evaluate the feasibility and impact of guidelines for switching, reinforced by pharmacists. Method: Patients admitted to internal medicine wards and treated with i.v. antibiotics for various infections were included for six weeks before (group A) and six weeks after (group B) the intervention. Differences in patient characteristics and their outcomes were sought between the two groups.Results: The 26 patients in group B stayed longer in hospital than the 29 in group A (13.3 vs. 9.7 days; P = 0.05). They also tended to need more time to reach the pre‐defined criteria for switching (3.6 vs. 2.4 days; P = 0.09). From that point on, they were switched more rapidly to oral antibiotics (1.5 vs. 3.2 days; P = 0.02), which resulted in a trend toward a lower treatment cost until their discharge (44 vs. 92 euros; P = 0.08). No difference was found between the 2 groups for the duration of the i.v. therapy, or the total in‐hospital cost of antibiotics. Conclusion: Pharmacists may help implement and reinforce guidelines for switching to oral antibiotics. The evaluation of such interventions implies the choice of appropriate outcomes and the awareness of confounding factors.
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