Nearly half of skin infection patients suffer secondary infections due to poor antibiotic adherence

It's no surprise that patients who don't adhere to the recommended course of medication treatment put forth by physicians don't experience the best possible outcomes. But it may come as a surprise that so many patients with infections aren't following these instructions.

A study published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy reviewed antibiotic adherence in patients with Staphyolococcus aureus skin infections and found they finished just 57 percent of their prescribed doses after discharge.

"We have seen similar differences and similar failures to take all the prescribed medications in many other conditions, including hypertension, diabetes and HIV," Loren G. Miller, MD, of the Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute and author of the study, said in a statement. "But these failures have never been studied in skin infections or linked with clinical outcomes. These findings suggest that we need better methods to have patients receive antibiotics for skin infections, such as counseling them on the importance of adhering to the medication dosing or by using newer antibiotics that require only once-weekly dosing."

The researchers used pill bottles outfitted with electronic caps that measured how often patients opened them to determine adherence. Patients reported taking 96 percent of their medication, or nearly double the amount the caps actually suggest they took.

Of 87 patients followed for the study, 40 required additional treatment within 30 days of discharge for either a new infection or additional treatments for infections that didn't heal properly. 


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