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CDC Warns of Antibiotic Overuse in Hospitals

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2014

Frieden added that the CDC wants hospitals to work with local and state health departments and other health facilities. "Resistant bacteria in any facility can easily land at the door of any other facility in the community," he said.

For doctors and nurses, the CDC asks for three actions.

  1. Order recommended cultures before antibiotics are given and start treatment promptly.
  2. Make sure the indication, dose and expected duration are specified in the patient record.
  3. Reassess within 48 hours to adjust or stop the prescription as appropriate.

Frieden was joined by American Hospital Association senior vice president John Combes, MD, who said that hospitals "recognize we must improve our practices. Not only for the benefit of the patients under our care, but also to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for future patients."

Debunking a Myth
Frieden added that clinicians may think they're giving their patients the best care possible, but poor or lack of antibiotic stewardship programs put patients "at unnecessary risk of future drug-resistant infections, allergic reactions, and intestinal infections that can be deadly from Clostridium difficile."

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