Fast Five Quiz: Antibiotic Best Practices

Mary L. Windle, PharmD


September 11, 2019

According to the CDC, the following is recommended every time antibiotics are prescribed to patients in the hospital:

  • Recommended cultures should be obtained before antibiotic administration. Drugs should then be promptly started, as appropriate.

  • Ensure that the indication, dose, and expected duration are specified in patient records.

  • Patients should be reassessed within 48 hours. Antibiotics should be adjusted or stopped if necessary.

In terms of antibiotics for urinary tract infections, the CDC recommends ensuring that culture results represent true infection and not colonization. Patients should be assessed for signs and symptoms, and urinalysis should be obtained with every urine culture.

In terms of antibiotics used to treat pneumonia, the CDC recommends ensuring that symptoms represent pneumonia and not an alternate, noninfectious diagnosis before administration. As with antibiotics used for urinary tract infections, patients should only receive medication for the recommended length of time, and postdischarge treatment should take into consideration the antibiotics given in the hospital. A recent study determined that shorter courses of antibiotics were more effective in patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia.

The CDC also states that vancomycin should not be used to treat infections caused by methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus infections, as opposed to methicillin-resistant S aureus infections.

Read more about the treatment of urinary tract infections.


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