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What Don't We Know About Antibiotics?


Lauri A. Hicks, DO, Director, Office of Antibiotic Stewardship, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discusses what we still don’t know about antibiotics.
Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)
“From a research perspective, we know that we need to gain better access to data, both on antibiotic use and how antibiotics are being used. We also need to know more about appropriateness of antibiotic use.
Assessing appropriateness of antibiotic use is much more challenging than just measuring how much antibiotics are being used, because you have to know why the antibiotic was being prescribed, you have to know information about the patient, and what might their special condition be. Do they have an antibiotic allergy? Do they have an underlying condition, which may make them more susceptible to a serious infection? You also have to know about their risk factors for certain types of infections that might need broader spectrum antibiotic therapy.
So, there is a lot of work to be done in this space. We need to know better how to integrate and improve antibiotic use across all the segments of healthcare. There’s a lot of work underway to improve how antibiotics are being used in hospitals. There’s also work that’s being done to improve antibiotic use in nursing homes, and work to improve antibiotic use in outpatient and primary care offices. But a lot of times, this work is done independently and in silos, and we really need to work across the spectrum of healthcare and identify where we can make connections between the different groups that are working on stewardship.”
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