February 7, 2019 – Antibiotic Decisions


Anchor lead: Can a simple decision tool help reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Antibiotics are overused. That’s clear. Can a new decision tool calling for four points of decision developed by Pranita Tamma, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, help?

Tamma: It’s a very simple construct. It seems like common sense. But the hope would be that these four moments would become ingrained in medical practice as a way to make sure that we’re prescribing antibiotics when needed as best as we can, and avoiding them or stopping them when they’re no longer needed.  :16

Tamma says she hopes some version of the tool might help in the outpatient setting as well.

Tamma: Unfortunately I do think for several reasons, sometimes it’s not having that close follow up with patients or patients are traveling from far away, people sometimes feel more secure starting an antibiotic than not so we’re trying to figure out how to make this same simple message for the outpatient setting that makes more sense for the way the outpatient clinicians practice.  :20

Tamma notes that for now, patients can help by not insisting on an antibiotic prescription when it may not be needed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.