Evaluating the appropriateness of carbapenem and piperacillin-tazobactam prescribing in a tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia

Nada A Alsaleh, Hussain A Al-Omar, Ahmed Y Mayet, Alexander B Mullen

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is presently considered an emergent major global public health concern and excessive and/or inappropriate use of broad-spectrum antimicrobials contribute to the development of AMR. Objective: To evaluate the appropriateness of carbapenems and piperacillin-tazobactam use in a tertiary care hospital. Methods: A retrospective, observational, cross-sectional, drug-utilization study was conducted. The study included all adult hospitalized patients who had received at least one dose of the antimicrobials during their admission for the period between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2017. The appropriateness of antimicrobial therapy was evaluated according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) guidelines with the consideration of the institutional antibiogram. Results: Overall, 2731 patients received 5005 courses with one of the antimicrobials, for a total of 5045.9 defined daily doses (DDD) of imipenem-cilastatin, 6492.3 of meropenem and 15,595 of piperacillin-tazobactam (4.93, 6.34 and 15.24 DDD/100 bed days, respectively). The mean age of the patients who received either antimicrobial was 55.5 ± 20.3 years, with a 14-day average length of hospital stay. About half (52%) of the prescriptions were written for patients treated in the medical ward. Pneumonia (26.6%) and sepsis (24.9%) were the most common indication for the initiation of antimicrobial therapy. Of the assessed prescriptions, only 2787 (56.5%) were prescribed appropriately, with 2142 (43.5%) deemed inappropriate. The three most common reasons for inappropriate prescription were: the spectrum of activity was too broad (44.6%), followed by antimicrobial use without culture request (32.4%), and failure of suitable antimicrobial de-escalation (19.9%). Conclusions: The study indicates that the overall rate of inappropriateness was high, emphasizing the need to develop initiatives to effectively improve broad-spectrum antimicrobial prescribing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1492-1498
Number of pages7
JournalSaudi Pharmaceutical Journal
Issue number11
Early online date25 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020


  • antimicrobial stewardship
  • carbapenem
  • imipenem-cilastatin
  • meropenem
  • piperacillin-tazobactam
  • prescribing patterns


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