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Effectiveness of antimicrobial stewardship programmes in neonatology: a systematic review


Introduction Antimicrobial stewardship programmes (ASPs) are recommended to improve antibiotic use in healthcare and reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Our aim was to investigate the effectiveness of ASPs in reducing antibiotic consumption, use of broad-spectrum/restricted antibiotics, antibiotic resistance and healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in neonates.

Methods We searched PUBMED, SCIELO, EMBASE and the Cochrane Database (January 2000–April 2019) to identify studies on the effectiveness of ASPs in neonatal wards and/or neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Outcomes were as follows: reduction of antibiotic consumption overall and of broad-spectrum/target antibiotics, inappropriate antibiotic use, antibiotic resistance and HAIs. ASPs conducted in settings other than acute care hospitals, for children older than 1 month, and ASPs addressing antifungal and antiviral agents, were excluded.

Results The initial search identified 53 173 titles and abstracts; following the application of filters and inclusion criteria, a total of six publications were included in the final analysis. All studies, of which one was multi-centre study, were published after 2010. Five studies were conducted exclusively in NICUs. Four articles applied multimodal interventions. Reduction of antibiotic consumption overall and/or inappropriate antibiotic use were reported by four articles; reduction of broad-spectrum/targeted antibiotics were reported by four studies; No article evaluated the impact of ASPs on AMR or the incidence of HAI in neonates.

Conclusion ASPs can be effectively applied in neonatal settings. Limiting the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and shorting the duration of antibiotic treatment are the most promising approaches. The impact of ASPs on AMR and HAI needs to be evaluated in long-term studies.

  • systematic review
  • neonates
  • antimicrobial stewardship
  • antibiotic consumption
  • antibiotic resistance

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