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To conduct a contemporary detailed assessment of outpatient antibiotic prescribing and outcomes for positive urine cultures in a mixed-sex cohort.
Multicenter retrospective cohort review.
The study was conducted using data from 31 Veterans’ Affairs medical centers.
Outpatient adults with positive urine cultures.
From 2016 to 2019, data were extracted through a nationwide database and manual chart review. Positive urine cultures were reviewed at the chart, clinician, and aggregate levels. Cases were classified as cystitis, pyelonephritis, or asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) based upon documented signs and symptoms. Preferred therapy definitions were applied for subdiagnoses: ASB (no antibiotics), cystitis (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, nitrofurantoin, β-lactams), and pyelonephritis (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, fluoroquinolone). Outcomes included 30-day clinical failure or hospitalization. Odds ratios for outcomes between treatments were estimated using logistic regression.
Of 3,255 cases reviewed, ASB was identified in 1,628 cases (50%), cystitis was identified in 1,156 cases (36%), and pyelonephritis was identified in 471 cases (15%). Of all 2,831 cases, 1,298 (46%) received preferred therapy selection and duration for cases where it could be defined. The most common antibiotic class prescribed was a fluoroquinolone (34%). Patients prescribed preferred therapy had lower odds of clinical failure: preferred (8%) versus nonpreferred (10%) (unadjusted OR, 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.58–0.95; P = .018). They also had lower odds of 30-day hospitalization: preferred therapy (3%) versus nonpreferred therapy (5%) (unadjusted OR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.37–0.81; P = .002). Odds of clinical treatment failure or hospitalization was higher for β-lactams relative to ciprofloxacin (unadjusted OR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.23–2.90; P = .002).
Clinicians prescribed preferred therapy 46% of the time. Those prescribed preferred therapy had lower odds of clinical failure and of being hospitalized.
We evaluated adverse drug events (ADEs) by chart review in a random national sample of 428 veterans with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who received tocilizumab (n = 173 of 428). ADEs (median time, 5 days) occurred in 51 of 173 (29%) and included hepatoxicity (n = 29) and infection (n = 13). Concomitant medication discontinuation occurred in 22% of ADE patients; mortality was 39%.
Background: Inappropriate use of MRSA-spectrum antibiotics is an important antimicrobial stewardship target. Contributors to inappropriate use include empiric treatment of patients who are determined to not be infected or who are infected but lack MRSA risk factors, and by excessive treatment duration when suspected MRSA infection is disproven. To characterize opportunities for improvement, we conducted a medical use evaluation (MUE) in 27 VA medical centers. The primary objectives were to assess the following proportions: (1) courses of unjustified empiric vancomycin therapy (patients in whom all antibacterials were halted within 2 days or without a principal or secondary discharge infection diagnosis); (2) courses of unjustified continuation of anti-MRSA therapy beyond day 4 (no MRSA risk factors or proven MRSA infection); and (3) excess anti-MRSA days of therapy (DOT), that is, DOT in unjustified empiric courses plus DOT after day 4 in unjustified continued courses. Methods: Clinical pharmacists performed retrospective, structured, manual record reviews of patients started on intravenous vancomycin on day 1 or 2 of hospitalization from June 2017 to May 2018. Exclusion criteria included surgical prophylaxis, recent MRSA infection, β-lactam allergy, renal insufficiency, severe immunosuppression, or infection that warranted anti-MRSA therapy other than vancomycin. Results: Of 2,493 evaluated patients, 1,320 met the inclusion criteria. Among them, 44% of courses were initiated in the emergency department, 37% of patients had ≥1 risk factor for healthcare-associated infections, and 50% of patients had ≥2 SIRS criteria or required vasopressor support. The most common admission diagnoses were skin and soft-tissue infection (SSTI, 40%; 68% nonpurulent) and pneumonia (27%; 46% without healthcare risk factors). Clinical cultures recovered MRSA from 8% of patients. Empiric therapy was not justified in 342 patients (26%; 57% were clinically stable). Continued therapy was unjustified in 46% of the 320 patients who received >4 days of anti-MRSA therapy. Of all days of anti-MRSA therapy, 23% were unjustified; 65% of these were due to unjustified empiric therapy. Site-specific variations in unjustified empiric therapy better correlated with the proportion of unjustified DOT than did unjustified continuation of therapy (Pearson correlation coefficients [PCC], 0.75 and 0.54, respectively) (Fig. 1). Facility-specific proportions of unjustified DOT modestly correlated with anti-MRSA DOT (PCC, 0.45; n = 27) (Fig. 2) but not the anti-MRSA standardized antimicrobial administration ratio (PCC, 0.15; n = 21). Conclusions: In this multicenter MUE, 26% of all days of anti-MRSA therapy lacked justification; this rate correlated with total facility-specific anti-MRSA DOT. Unnecessary empiric therapy, largely in the ED and for nonpurulent SSTIs and pneumonia without risk factors, was the principal contributor to unjustified DOT.
Antibiotics are overprescribed for acute respiratory tract infections (ARIs). Guidelines provide criteria to determine which patients should receive antibiotics. We assessed congruence between documentation of ARI diagnostic and treatment practices with guideline recommendations, treatment appropriateness, and outcomes.
A multicenter quality improvement evaluation was conducted in 28 Veterans Affairs facilities. We included visits for pharyngitis, rhinosinusitis, bronchitis, and upper respiratory tract infections (URI-NOS) that occurred during the 2015–2016 winter season. A manual record review identified complicated cases, which were excluded. Data were extracted for visits meeting criteria, followed by analysis of practice patterns, guideline congruence, and outcomes.
Of 5,740 visits, 4,305 met our inclusion criteria: pharyngitis (n = 558), rhinosinusitis (n = 715), bronchitis (n = 1,155), URI-NOS (n = 1,475), or mixed diagnoses (>1 ARI diagnosis) (n = 402). Antibiotics were prescribed in 68% of visits: pharyngitis (69%), rhinosinusitis (89%), bronchitis (86%), URI-NOS (37%), and mixed diagnosis (86%). Streptococcal diagnostic testing was performed in 33% of pharyngitis visits; group A Streptococcus was identified in 3% of visits. Streptococcal tests were ordered less frequently for patients who received antibiotics (28%) than those who did not receive antibiotics 44%; P < .01). Although 68% of visits for rhinosinusitis had documentation of symptoms, only 32% met diagnostic criteria for antibiotics. Overall, 39% of patients with uncomplicated ARIs received appropriate antibiotic management. The proportion of 30-day return visits for ARI care was similar for appropriate (11%) or inappropriate (10%) antibiotic management (P = .22).
Antibiotics were prescribed in most uncomplicated ARI visits, indicating substantial overuse. Practice was frequently discordant with guideline diagnostic and treatment recommendations.
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