Class restriction of cephalosporin use to control total cephalosporin resistance in nosocomial Klebsiella

JAMA. 1998 Oct 14;280(14):1233-7. doi: 10.1001/jama.280.14.1233.


Context: Resistance to most or all cephalosporin antibiotics in Klebsiella species has developed in many European and North American hospitals during the past 2 decades.

Objective: To determine if restriction of use of the cephalosporin class of antibiotics would reduce the incidence of patient infection or colonization by cephalosporin-resistant Klebsiella.

Design: A before-after comparative 2-year trial.

Setting: A 500-bed, university-affiliated community hospital in Queens, NY.

Patients: All adult medical and surgical hospital inpatients.

Intervention: A new antibiotic guideline excluded the use of cephalosporins except for pediatric infection, single-dose surgical prophylaxis, acute bacterial meningitis, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, and outpatient gonococcal infection. All other cephalosporin use required prior approval by the infectious disease section.

Main outcome measure: Incidence of patient infection or colonization by ceftazidime-resistant Klebsiella during 1995 (control period) compared with 1996 (intervention period).

Results: An 80.1% reduction in hospital-wide cephalosporin use occurred in 1996 compared with 1995. This was accompanied by a 44.0% reduction in the incidence of ceftazidime-resistant Klebsiella infection and colonization throughout the medical center (P<.01), a 70.9% reduction within all intensive care units (P<.001), and an 87.5% reduction within the surgical intensive care unit (P<.001). A concomitant 68.7% increase in the incidence of imipenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa occurred throughout the medical center (P<.01). All such isolates except one were susceptible to other antibiotics.

Conclusion: Extensive cephalosporin class restriction significantly reduced nosocomial, plasmid-mediated, cephalosporin-resistant Klebsiella infection and colonization. This occurred at the price of increased imipenem resistance in P aeruginosa, which remained susceptible to other agents. Thus, an overall reduction in multiply-resistant pathogens was achieved within 1 year.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cephalosporin Resistance
  • Cephalosporins / therapeutic use*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Drug Utilization Review / statistics & numerical data
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Hospitals, Community
  • Humans
  • Imipenem / pharmacology
  • Incidence
  • Infection Control
  • Klebsiella / drug effects*
  • Klebsiella Infections / epidemiology
  • Klebsiella Infections / prevention & control*
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Pseudomonas Infections / epidemiology
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects
  • Thienamycins / pharmacology


  • Cephalosporins
  • Thienamycins
  • Imipenem