Prolonged antibiotic exposure common after patient discharge, study finds

Nearly 40 percent of antibiotic exposure occurs after a patient has been discharged from the hospital, according to a study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study at two community hospitals and one academic medical center. They collected electronic data on inpatient and discharge antibiotic prescriptions from April to September 2016. They gathered information on inpatient antibiotic use from electronic medication administration records, and they calculated antibiotic use after discharge using electronic discharge prescriptions.

Of 45,693 inpatient admissions, 23,447 (51 percent) received antibiotics during their stay, and 7,442 (16 percent) were given electronic discharge prescriptions.

Researchers found patients continued antibiotic therapy for a median of eight days after their discharge. Prescriptions peaked at five, seven, 10 and 14 days.

Antibiotic exposure after discharge accounted for 38 percent of a patient's total number of antibiotic exposure days.

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