We certainly know the dangers of antibiotic overuse and want to be good stewards of our antibacterial medications—especially if the odds point in the direction of a viral etiology for a child’s symptoms. Yet despite our ability to talk the talk, do we walk the walk when it comes to being good stewards of antimicrobial agents?
Some hospitals, to further enhance the prudent usage of antimicrobials, have instituted stewardship programs to reduce and improve antibiotic prescribing. Do these programs work?
Hersh et al. (doi:10.1542/peds.2014-2579) looked at a group of children’s hospitals with formalized antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs) compared to hospitals without such programs and looked at antibiotic prescribing over time in those hospitals. The results are not a bitter pill to swallow but are, instead, quite promising. This is especially true for those hospitals administering certain subsets of antibiotics, including vancomycin, carbapenems, and linezolid, that both did and did not follow stewardship guidelines.
So are these stewardship programs worth the investment? Infectious disease specialist Dr. Will Mason and colleagues dose out their thoughts on this issue in an accompanying commentary also being released this week.
Does your hospital offer a stewardship program? If so, do you think it has helped reduce the frequency of usage of antibiotics? If not, why? Feel free to share your thoughts on antibiotic stewardship by posting a response to this blog, sending us an e-letter or over on Facebook or Twitter.