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Doctors Underutilize Next-Gen Antibiotics to Fight Resistant Infections in US Hospitals, Finds Study by NIH Scientists

Doctors Underutilize Next-Gen Antibiotics to Fight Resistant Infections in U.S. Hospitals

Doctors Underutilize Next-Gen Antibiotics to Fight Resistant Infections in U.S. Hospitals

April 19, 2024

Despite FDA-Approved Next-Gen Antibiotics, Doctors Still Rely on Older Medicines

Doctors in U.S. hospitals are frequently opting to treat antibiotic-resistant infections caused by resistant “gram-negative” bacteria using older generic antibiotics, despite the availability of newer, more effective, and safer options, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center.

The researchers aimed to understand the decision-making process of clinicians when determining the course of treatment for patients with challenging bloodstream infections caused by gram-negative bacteria and significant comorbidities. The study revealed that many hospitals, particularly smaller rural facilities, are reluctant to adopt newer antibiotics. The use of older antibiotics continues despite the FDA’s approval of seven next-generation antibiotics for gram-negative bacteria infections.

An identified factor influencing the preference for older antibiotics is the significant cost disparity between newer and older classes of antibiotics. Newer drugs can cost up to six times more than the older medications, which serves as a disincentive for prescribing them. It is particularly relevant for hospitals with limited resources.

In addition, the researchers found that newer antibiotics are more frequently prescribed by hospitals where prescribers receive lab test results that demonstrate the drugs’ effectiveness against a patient’s bacterial infection. Consequently, the study suggests that widespread availability of such lab testing at an earlier stage could augment the use of next-gen antibiotics. Moreover, the study advocates for the development of public health policies and economic strategies to overcome additional barriers and promote the access and utilization of newer antibiotics.

The Challenge of Antibiotic Resistance

Gram-negative bacteria are a type of bacteria that possess resistance to multiple drugs and are increasingly becoming resistant to most antibiotics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has marked them as requiring urgent attention due to their ability to pass along genetic material that supports the development of drug resistance in other bacteria.

The research conducted incollaborationh with the FDA and the NIH Intramural Research Program exemplifies the genuine concern for addressing the issue of antibiotic resistance and exploring potential solutions.

Additional Information

This groundbreaking study that sheds light on the underutilization of next-gen antibiotics in the battle against resistant gram-negative infections has recently been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study, titled “Assessing Clinician Utilization of Next-Generation Antibiotics Against Resistant Gram-Negative Infections in U.S. Hospitals,” was authored by Sameer S. Kadri, M.D., head of the Clinical Epidemiology Section at the NIH Clinical Center.

The NIH Clinical Center, located on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md., plays a crucial role as America’s research hospital. By leveraging clinical research, the clinician-investigators within the NIH Clinical Center translate laboratory discoveries into improved treatments, therapies, and interventions that enhance the health and well-being of the nation.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The NIH is the premier federal agency dedicated to conducting and supporting a wide range of medical research, including basic, clinical, and translational research. With 27 Institutes and Centers, the NIH is dedicated to investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. To learn more about the NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®

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