Prospective approach to managing antimicrobial drug shortages

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2012 Jul;33(7):745-52. doi: 10.1086/666332. Epub 2012 May 18.


Antimicrobial drug shortages continue to increase, with few new therapeutic options available. Nationally, proposals have been offered to alleviate drug shortages; however, these recommendations are unlikely to effect change in the near future. Thus, antimicrobial stewardship leaders in acute care hospitals must develop a prospective management strategy to lessen the impact of these shortages on patient care. Herein, we describe several resources available to aid professionals in antimicrobial stewardship and healthcare epidemiology to manage drug shortages. An effective approach should include prospectively tracking shortages and maximizing inventory by appropriately managing usage. Several tenets should underpin this management. Alternative agents should be rationally chosen before the inventory of the primary agent has reached zero, ethical considerations should be taken into account, and timely notification and communication with key stakeholders should occur throughout the prescribing and dispensing process.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / supply & distribution*
  • Humans
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital / organization & administration*


  • Anti-Infective Agents