Their findings? Twenty percent of patients who had received antibiotics experienced at least 1 adverse effect. For “each additional 10 days of antibiotics,” the risk of experiencing adverse effects increased by 3%.
The researchers also wanted to see if the patients would go on to develop Clostridium difficile
infection or multidrug-resistant infections; to do this, they continued to follow the patients for up to 90 days. They found that 4% of patients developed C. difficile
and 6% of patients developed multidrug-resistant infections. No deaths were associated with any antibiotic-associated adverse side effects, but the researchers noted that 24% of patients had prolonged hospital stays, 3% of the patients had additional hospital admissions, and over half (61%) of the patients needed to receive “additional diagnostic tests.”
Furthermore, the researchers found that 19% of the antibiotics that had been prescribed to these patients were unnecessary, that means that “two reviewing infectious disease experts found no indication of bacterial infections in these patients.”
The researchers note that these numbers pertaining to antibiotic-associated adverse events might actually be an underestimation due to the fact that the Johns Hopkins Hospital has a strong antibiotic stewardship program, where other healthcare facilities may not.
The researchers hope that their findings will promote awareness among healthcare practitioners so that they can be more cognizant when it comes to their prescribing practices. Furthermore, Dr. Tamma hopes that these results will prompt patients to ask more questions regarding the antibiotics they are prescribed and the potential side effects that they may experience.
“That alone could reduce a large portion of unnecessary antibiotic prescribing,” Dr. Tamma concluded.
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