Antimicrobial resistance: Consideration as an adverse drug event

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Critical Care Medicine


Antimicrobial resistance has increased dramatically in the past 15 to 20 yrs and presents a patient safety concern unlike any other in the intensive care unit. Antimicrobial resistance in critically ill patients increases morbidity, mortality, length of hospital stay, and healthcare costs. Some organisms may have intrinsically high levels of resistance or may be spread between patients by poor infection control practices. However, a major driver of antimicrobial resistance is antibiotic use. As such, the development of antimicrobial resistance can often be thought of as an adverse drug event. This article explores the link between drug use, drug dosing, other selective pressures and resistance, and describes concepts to minimize the negative impact of antimicrobial therapy. Two broad themes of these concepts are minimizing the use of antibiotics whenever possible and optimizing antibiotic usage when they are needed. Strategies for minimizing the use of antimicrobials include using optimal diagnostic procedures to ensure the need for antimicrobials, streamlining or discontinuing therapy when possible based on culture results, and using the shortest duration of therapy needed for documented infections. Strategies for optimizing antimicrobial use include using optimal dosing based on the manufacturer's instructions and current pharmacodynamic data, guiding better prescribing based on local susceptibility patterns and formulary restriction, and avoiding drugs with more propensity to foster resistance. Copyright © 2010 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.



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