Pew sets national targets to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions

The Pew Charitable Trusts established national targets for improving antibiotic use in hospitals based on CDC research that found 55.9 percent of antibiotic prescriptions for hospitalized patients were inappropriate. The findings were published March 18 in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers focused on the prescription of vancomycin treatment, fluoroquinolone treatment, antibiotics for community-acquired pneumonia or urinary tract infection. Among 1,566 patients who received the antibiotics across 192 U.S. hospitals, the prescriptions were unsupported for 55.9 percent of patients, according to the analysis. 

Among antibiotics for CAP, 79.5 percent of prescriptions were inappropriate. For UTIs, nearly 77 percent of prescriptions were inappropriate. Unsupported prescriptions were defined based on the specific antibiotic prescribed and the treatment duration, among other factors

Based on the findings, the Pew Charitable Trusts set the following national targets meant to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance: 

  • Reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for CAP and UTIs by 90 percent
  • Reduce inappropriate prescribing for fluoroquinolone and vancomycin by 95 percent

Pew's report outlined a number of strategies to meet these targets, including encouraging hospitals to report antibiotic use to the CDC, and using existing quality-based reimbursement programs from public and private insurers to incentivize high-quality antimicrobial stewardship programs. 

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