Empiric antibiotic prescribing for patients with community-acquired pneumonia: where can we improve?

Intern Med J. 2008 Mar;38(3):174-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.2007.01455.x.


Background: Community acquired pneumonia is one of the most common infections for which antibiotics are prescribed in Australia.

Methods: We audited empiric antibiotic prescribing for 392 adults with community-acquired pneumonia.

Results: Only 61.9% of patients received empiric antibiotic coverage for both typical and atypical pathogens. Of those who required intensive care unit management, 34.6% did not receive antibiotic cover for atypical pneumonia pathogens within the first 24 h. Approximately 21.9% of patients reporting antibiotic allergies were given antibiotics to which they had a documented allergy.

Conclusion: Efforts to improve prescribing practices could be focused towards identifying patients with severe illness early and improving recognition of documented allergies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / drug therapy*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / microbiology
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia / microbiology
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*


  • Anti-Infective Agents