July 20, 2017 – Antibiotic Risk


Anchor lead: About one in five people who take an antibiotic may have an adverse event, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Many people who are hospitalized receive antibiotics, but a new study by Pranita Tamma, an antibiotics use expert at Johns Hopkins, may ultimately change that. The study looked at adverse events among hospitalized patients who received antibiotics.

Tamma: Of all patients about 20% developed an antibiotic associated adverse event. Some common ones include gastrointestinal problems, low white cell count, anemia, etcetera, or kidney damage. We also had two clinicians decide whether the antibiotics were necessary or not because we wanted to get a sense of what percentage of adverse events could have been completely avoided. So looking at patients who really had no indication for antibiotics still in that group 20% went on to develop an adverse event.   :32

Tamma says this study supports the practice of not prescribing antibiotics until a need is clearly shown, and then using the most appropriate medicine for the shortest period of time. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.