Antibiotics are some of the most prescribed medications in neonatal intensive care units (NICU), but there is limited evidence on the implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programmes on these wards.
In a recent study, a team collected data on antibiotic use on a 54-bed, level IV NICU for four years after the introduction of an antimicrobial stewardship programme.
They found there was a significant reduction in use of the most commonly prescribed antibiotic, ampicillin, by 22.5 days of antibiotic therapy per 1000 patients days (P=0.037), although the reduction in overall antibiotic use was not significant. There was also a significant reduction in the rate of cultures and subsequent antimicrobial prescriptions ordered by neonatologists for suspected late-onset sepsis.
Reporting in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology (online, 26 July 2017), the researchers say the results show an NICU-specific antimicrobial stewardship programme is feasible and could improve antibiotic-prescribing practices