An Interventional Program to Improve Antibiotic Use

Large volume and often inappropriate use of specific antimicrobial agents increase selective pressure for emergence of resistant bacteria and place strain on the pharmacy budget.


To initiate a multidisciplinary program designed to align intravenous vancomycin and fluoroquinolone prescribing practices with guidelines for appropriate use of these agents.


A multidisciplinary, prospective interventional program was implemented to encourage early discontinuation of inappropriate vancomycin and fluoroquinolone therapy and decrease inappropriate duplicative gram-negative coverage using fluoroquinolones. A computerized review was performed for patients receiving intravenous vancomycin and fluoroquinolones for 1998 in a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In June 1999, guidelines were disseminated and an interventional program was initiated, with a monthly conference for medical residents regarding antimicrobial resistance and local hospital practices. Concurrently, a prospective review of new orders was assessed by the clinical pharmacist and interventions performed when inappropriate use occurred.


The interventional program was successful in reducing unnecessary duplicative gram-negative coverage with intravenous fluoroquinolones by 26% (p < 0.001) from 1998 to 2001. Overall, a 43% reduction in the number of courses of intravenous fluoroquinolones was seen during these 4 years. Courses lasting >5 days were reduced by 22% (p < 0.001). Vancomycin prescriptions deemed inappropriate that were administered >5 days were reduced by 16% (p < 0.001) during the same time period. The interventions performed by the clinical pharmacist were deemed successful, with a 76% acceptance rate by providers.


Education of physicians through monthly conferences and personal interventions resulted in an increase in appropriate empiric antibiotic use, a decrease in the duration of inappropriate use, and a decrease in duplicate gram-negative coverage.


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