The antibiotic course has had its day?

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In a recent BMJ article, Llewelyn et al. argue that the old dogma of completing a prescribed course of antibiotics to prevent antibiotic-resistance is a myth, not based on evidence.  Actually the opposite, namely taking antibiotics for longer than necessary, increases the risk of resistance.

While I love breaking down old dogmas  (we actually had a poll on this topic some time back), many of today’s papers in the Netherlands (and I am pretty sure elsewhere, too) misinterpret the study, by slaughtering the message to patients to “always complete the full prescription”.  One of the Netherlands most influential newspapers the Volkskrant, already wrote: “Finishing antibiotic course? Nonsense.”

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The anatomy of a good blog

ICHE recently published an unusual article (which other article has ‘the world wide web’ as their setting) on blogging in ID and clinical micro. The article reviewed around 100 blogs and rated them using a multifaceted tool. The article has some useful qualitative feedback from bloggers and readers, and identifies some gaps in the blogosphere (especially around antimicrobial stewardship). Rachael Troughton, one of the study authors, recently published a post on the article – and here’s my take on it.

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The English C. difficile miracle: is it all about fluoroquinolones?

A new Lancet ID study suggests that restriction of fluoroquinolone usage has been the main driver of the national reduction in C. difficile infection in England. This paper is challenging in terms of some of the accepted approaches to controlling the transmission of C. difficile: if it’s all about reducing fluoroquinolones (and antimicrobials in general) and nothing to do with these measures, then why invest so much time and energy in isolation of symptomatic cases, cleaning and disinfection etc?

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ESPAUR 2016: an early Christmas present

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I am just getting around to reading (well detail-scanning the exec summary) of the ESPAUR report. My main reflection is what a fantastic resource this reporting stream offers us: to have freely accessible, regular, accurate, national data on antimicrobial resistance and usage, and other related indicators is pretty unique!

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What do nurses have to do with anti-infective stewardship?

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Nurses are usually non-prescribers, so that means that anti-infective stewardship is the domain of the prescribing doctors and pharmacists, right? Wrong! Nurses have an enormous and enormously under-estimated role in anti-infective stewardship! Continue reading

Online antimicrobial stewardship course

I found out about a new free online antimicrobial stewardship course yesterday. The course is a collaboration between the the University of Dundee and the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, and comes highly recommended. The course is designed for healthcare professionals.

If anybody completes the course, I’d be interested to hear your feedback.

Antibiotics and the Netherlands

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Antimicrobial resistance, control of antibiotic use and infection control are some of the things the Dutch presumably do well. Some of the Dutch infection control policies, such as “Search & Destroy” helped to stop the introduction of MRSA for a long time. I addition, the prevalence of other MDRO is low in comparison to many other countries. Still, more needed to be done, and consequently, the Dutch were (one of) the first that made antimicrobial stewardship teams (A-teams) compulsory for every hospital and presently plan introduction in other healthcare settings. Last but not least, the fight against antimicrobial resistance will be an important topic, while the Dutch hold the Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2016.

Thus, what else could we ask for? A few weeks ago, I had at least one request: basic antibiotics.

Due to fading reimbursement policies and the constant pressure to sale drugs for decreasingly lower prices, the production for and/or distribution of several drugs within the Netherlands is no longer possible. Latest victim: i.v. penicillin, which is no longer available in my country (high-resource setting). While it seems difficult to argue for small spectrum antibiotics in the absence of one of the important ones, there is some good news: I no longer have to argue whether to use penicillin or a 3rd generation cephalosporin for certain indications. Ceph it is!