Aim Aims of the study included evaluation of outpatient antibiotic prescribing practices relating to good Antimicrobial Stewardship1 focusing on documentation of indication and duration.
Method Prescriptions dispensed at the Outpatient Pharmacy over a 6 week were evaluated. Data collected include patient's hospital identification in full, the antibiotic prescribed, duration of treatment, indication (in a specifically allocated area on the prescription) and route of administration, prescriber speciality and grade. Data were entered onto Microsoft Excel and reviewed by a committee that included a medical microbiologist and antimicrobial pharmacist.
Results Five hundred and six antimicrobial prescriptions were reviewed. Therapeutic antibiotics accounted for 484/506 (95.6%) and the remaining 22/506 (4.4%) were prophylactic therapy. Indications were documented in 186/506 (36.8%) cases and 465/506 (91.9%) documented duration of therapy. By speciality, adherence with indication and duration, respectively, for oral medication, were as follows: Haematology 2/55 (3.6%) and 12/55 (21.8%), General paediatrics 26/42 (61.9%) and 41/42 (97.6%), Oncology 4/37 (10.8%) and 34/37 (91.9%), Dermatology 12/35 (34.3%) and 35/35 (100%), Nephrology 24/30 (80%) and 30/30 (100%), Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) 9/31 (29%) and 31/31 (100%). Oral route of administration was the most frequently prescribed 391/506 (77.3%), with topical and eye/ear drops prescribed in 63/506 (12.4%) and 50/506 (9.9%) respectively. Nebulised therapy accounted for only 2/506 (0.4%) prescriptions. Most commonly prescribed antibiotics were Co-amoxiclav 83/391 (21.2%), Flucloxacillin 50/391 (12.8%), Penicillin 35/391 (9.0%), Azithromycin 27/391 (6.9%) and Trimethoprim 26/391 (6.6%). Adherence to antibiotic guidelines was seen to be appropriate with 496/506 (98%).From the ten prescriptions that did not adhere, Azithromycin accounted for 8/10 (80%) with 50% of these used for prophylaxis, with lack of clear documentation.
Conclusion A designated area on the Outpatient Pharmacy prescription for indication and duration can aid better Antimicrobial Stewardship. Duration of therapy was better documented than indication, however it is postulated that this was to ensure adequate supply on outpatient dispensing and not always through following good antimicrobial prescribing practice. On the whole, the most commonly prescribed antibiotics were predominantly prescribed by the specialities within the antibiotic guidelines. Azithromycin, which is restricted to respiratory team, was prescribed outside of the policy by other specialties. This study helped prioritise which specialities require further input to improve adherence with Antimicrobial Stewardship in the outpatient setting. As dermatology and ENT had 100% compliance with specifying duration, we are now reviewing their prescribing education which can be used to enhance the practice of the other specialities.
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