Effect of a vancomycin restriction policy on ordering practices during an outbreak of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium

Arch Intern Med. 1997 May 26;157(10):1132-6.


Background: With the development of nosocomial pathogens that are resistant to multiple antimicrobial agents, reasonable restriction of antibiotic use has become a priority.

Methods: During an outbreak of vancomycin-resistant enterococcal infections, an audit of vancomycin hydrochloride use was conducted during October 3 through 21, 1994, and January 24 through February 2, 1995. During these periods, all orders for vancomycin were reviewed by clinical pharmacists. Use was classified as either appropriate or inappropriate based on recommendations by the Hospital Infection Control Practice Advisory Committee (HICPAC) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga. A policy restricting the use of vancomycin was adopted in November 1994.

Results: During the first audit in October 1994, 61% of vancomycin orders were considered inappropriate according to HICPAC criteria. At the time of this audit, the first cases of an outbreak of nosocomial vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium had been detected. The follow-up audit showed that 30% of vancomycin orders were inappropriate by HICPAC criteria (P < .001). Overall use of vancomycin decreased by 50% and remained at this lower level for the following year.

Conclusion: The institution of a vancomycin restriction policy was associated with a reduction of both inappropriate drug orders and total use.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis
  • Cross Infection / drug therapy*
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Drug Costs
  • Drug Prescriptions*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Drug Utilization
  • Enterococcus faecium*
  • Fever / drug therapy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Hospital Administration*
  • Hospital Costs
  • Hospital Departments
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit
  • Neutropenia / drug therapy
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pediatrics
  • Pharmacology, Clinical
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital
  • Policy Making*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Surgery Department, Hospital
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative
  • Vancomycin / therapeutic use*
  • beta-Lactam Resistance


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Vancomycin