Lege Artis Medicinae

[The choice of antibiotic therapy from the viewpoint of an economist]

KIS Zoltán

DECEMBER 21, 2011

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2011;21(12)

[OBJECTIVES - Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in various bacterial infections is a growing problem in everyday clinical practice. The development of resistance is related to the clinical use of antibiotics, which substantially influences the efficiency of antimicrobial therapy. Inappropriately chosen therapy may increase the cost of treatment because of reduced efficacy and potential unwanted outcomes, adverse effects. Prolonged duration of treatment and increased use of diagnostic and therapeutic resources (including all medication expenses) contribute to the increased costs of treatment. The aim of our study was to demonstrate the differences in the total cost of therapy during hospitalization in certain patient groups, depending on the efficiency of the chosen antibiotic therapy. METHODS - We examined acute abdominal episodes, which represent one of the most typical surgical diseases. We analysed 59 hospital in-patient episodes that occurred in a six-month period, using aggregated hospital data. On the basis of the first choice of antibiotic we compared the average duration of antibiotic therapy and hospital stay, the incidence of medical complications and the cost of all these factors. RESULTS - The available results of our pilot study show that the length of hospital stay and the total cost of treatment may substantially increase even in the short term as a result of an inadequate choice of antibiotic, as the total cost of treatment is affected not only by the daily cost of antibiotic therapy, but also by its efficiency. In the long term, the risk of potentially developing resistance also necessitates an accurate choice of therapy, which requires institutional infection control and the prescription and implementation of protocols. These must be supported by cost-effectiveness analyses that include costs as well as results.]

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