Background: Prescription of third-generation cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones has been linked to an increasing incidence of gram-negative bacteria producing extended-spectrum beta-lactamases, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and nosocomial infection with Clostridium difficile. Antibiotic stewardship (ABS) programmes offer evidence-based tools to control antibiotic prescription rates and thereby influence the incidence of nosocomial infection and contain the development of multidrug-resistant bacteria, but there is limited experience with such programmes at community hospitals.
Methods: We implemented an ABS programme at a 200-bed community hospital and aimed at a > 30 % reduction of cephalosporin and fluoroquinolone consumption within 1 year. Pharmacy data were obtained to estimate hospital-wide drug use density expressed in WHO-ATC-defined daily doses (DDD) or hospital-adapted recommended daily doses (RDD) per 1,000 patient days. The effect of the ABS intervention on drug use density was analysed using interrupted time-series analysis for the periods between January 2011 and March 2013 as pre-intervention, and between April 2013 and March 2014 as post-intervention period. The CDI incidence was calculated based on microbiology laboratory data.
Results: Cephalosporin use (measured in RDD/1,000 patient days) decreased by 33 %, and fluoroquinolone use decreased by 31 %, respectively. Interrupted time-series analysis confirmed significant changes in the drug use density trends for both cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones after the intervention as well as for total antibiotic use that decreased by 11 % while no significant effect was noted for CDI incidence rates.
Conclusion: ABS programmes can be effective in community hospitals and may help establish ecologically advantageous antibiotic strategies when needed.