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Delay in Available Antimicrobial Susceptibility Tests Undermines Proper Antibiotic Use

Jason Gallagher, PharmD, BCPS, FCCP, FIDSA, explains how the role of antimicrobial susceptibility tests can be undermined by delays between approval of new antibiotics and the tests that will optimize their use.

Jason Gallagher, PharmD, BCPS, FCCP, FIDSA, clinical professor of pharmacy practice, Temple University, explains how delays in the availability of antimicrobial susceptibility tests can undermine appropriate use of new antibiotics.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“When antibiotics are first approved, there is no requirement that a standard test [should be] available to do susceptibility testing at the same time of that approval. It’s something that there’s often a delay [in]; allowing us to do standardized testing to see if it’s likely to work or not. This leaves practitioners in a quandary, choosing a drug for which they’re guessing whether it’s likely to be active or not.

Antimicrobial stewardship programs have a hard time utilizing those new drugs when they don’t know whether [they are] likely to work in the patient or not. Even when it’s highly likely to work because resistance is low, we are in a field where we’re used to having the answer, or used to having susceptibility results telling us whether the drug is active in vitro or not against that particular organism. These delays really hurt us.”