Good Practice in Antimicrobial Prescribing

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The aim of providing empirical antibiotic prescribing guidance is to achieve two related aims:

  • Ensure effective treatment for an unwell patient by delivering antibiotics active against the pathogens most likely to be present
  • Avoid over-use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, which can promote antimicrobial resistance and thus make infections much more difficult to treat, as well as causing unwanted side-effects for the patient such as Clostridium difficile infection

When prescribing antibiotics:

  • Follow these empirical guidelines
    • These are based partly on national guidance and partly on known sensitivity patterns amongst local isolates
  • Culture before starting antibiotics
    • Identifying the pathogen responsible allows you to switch to focused treatment sooner
  • Review all IV antibiotic prescriptions within 48-72 hours
    • Is the diagnosis of infection secure, or is something else causing this illness?
    • Can you narrow treatment based on clinical findings or results from cultures?
    • If antibiotics are still needed, has the patient improved enough to switch to oral therapy?
  • Don’t exceed the course length advised