Objective: To evaluate the appropriateness of ciprofloxacin-prescribing in the long-term care setting.
Design: Retrospective chart review.
Setting: A large academically oriented long-term care facility.
Patients: Institutionalized elderly patients with a mean age of 88 years.
Methods: One hundred orders were randomly selected for review from all ciprofloxacin orders initiated over a 3-year period. Criteria for appropriateness of ciprofloxacin-prescribing were developed based on a comprehensive review of the medical literature. Evaluation of appropriateness of prescribing was based on the indication for therapy and the availability of more effective and/or less expensive alternative antibiotic regimens. Only information available to the physician at the time of the order was used to judge appropriateness. Abstracted medical records were evaluated independently by a geriatrician and an infectious diseases specialist.
Results: With respect to site of infection, the urinary tract accounted for 43% of all ciprofloxacin orders; the lower respiratory tract, 28%; and skin and soft-tissue infections, 17%. Only 25% of orders were judged appropriate. Twenty-three percent of orders were judged less than appropriate based on indication, and 49% due to the availability of a more effective and/or less expensive alternative antibiotic choice. There was insufficient information in the medical record to judge 3% of the orders.
Conclusion: These results indicate less than optimal prescribing of oral fluoroquinolones in the long-term care setting, with potential consequences including the development of resistant bacterial strains and increased health care costs.