Fear and hierarchy as drivers for antimicrobial prescribing

Surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis (SAP) is one of the areas of strength in the infection prevention literature: we have high quality evidence that it works, and evidence-based guidance on how to do it effectively. And yet, you don’t have to spend long in an operating theatre to see that it’s not always done according to local guidelines. So, why are these evidence-based guidelines for SAP not implemented effectively? A short review in the Journal of Hospital Infection highlights social factors, specifically fear and hierarchy, as important drivers of antimicrobial prescribing.

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Is it true that I have to finish my antibiotic treatment as prescribed?

Schermafbeelding 2015-11-21 om 15.01.52

It is always the same. If I think that I had a reasonable idea and put it on-line, it will only take a day or two, until friends and colleagues let me know, that others had the same idea – just earlier. In this case, John Ferguson (@mdjkf), brought to my attention, that Professor Lyn Gilbert started the same discussion in Australia (Link). As always, I am depressed for about 5 seconds and start to come up with a new, old idea.

Despite the discussion in Down-under, I have promised to post the results of my questionnaire. On Twitter, some were surprised how little evidence exists to support antibiotic prescribing dogmas (Eli Perencevich, @eliowa), whereas others like Christina Vandenbroucke-Grauls (@ChristinaGrauls) believe that we have plenty of evidence from lab experiments and theory to answer the question. Most importantly, “every bit of antibiotic leads to resistance”.

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