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The substitution of piperacillin/tazobactam, ampicillin/sulbactam, or both for third-generation cephalosporins has been associated with reduced vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). However, piperacillin/tazobactam came into widespread use during a period in which the prevalence of VRE increased. We hypothesized that the increasing use of piperacillin/tazobactam and other agents with relatively enhanced anti-enterococcal activity (ie, piperacillin, ampicillin/sulbactam, and ampicillin) has been associated with increased or unchanged rates of VRE in some hospitals.
We retrospectively evaluated the correlation between hospital antibiotic use (defined daily doses per 10,000 patient-days of care) and incidence of stool or non-stool VRE isolation. We assessed whether a high or increasing proportion of use of beta-lactam agents with relatively enhanced versus minimal (ie, third-generation cephalosporins and ticarcillin/clavulanate) anti-enterococcal activity would prevent increased VRE.
Four academic medical centers.
With the increasing use of piperacillin/tazobactam, the use of beta-lactam agents with enhanced activity against enterococci surpassed the combined use of third-generation cephalosporins and ticarcillin/clavulanate in each hospital. In one hospital, the incidence of VRE was positively correlated with the use of piperacillin/tazobactam or beta-lactam agents with enhanced anti-enterococcal activity (P< .0001). The incidence of VRE rose steadily in another hospital despite relatively high use of beta-lactam agents with enhanced versus minimal anti-enterococcal activity. A negative correlation between VRE and piperacillin/tazobactam or beta-lactam agents with enhanced anti-enterococcal activity was observed in one hospital, but this correlation was not statistically significant.
Increasing the hospital use of piperacillin/tazobactam and other beta-lactams with relatively enhanced anti-enterococcal activity may not be an effective control measure for VRE.
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