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When to stop antibiotics in the critically ill?

  • Neilsen, Nathan
  • Dean, James T
  • Shald, Elizabeth
  • Conway Morris, Andrew
  • Povoa, Pedro
  • Schouten, Jeroen
  • Parchim, Nicholas
Publication Date
Mar 20, 2024
Apollo - University of Cambridge Repository
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Over the past century, antibiotic usage has skyrocketed in the treatment of critically ill patients. There have been increasing calls to establish guidelines for appropriate treatment and durations of antibiosis. Antibiotic treatment, even when appropriately tailored to the patient and infection, is not without cost. Short term risks—hepatic/renal dysfunction, intermediate effects—concomitant superinfections, and long-term risks—potentiating antimicrobial resistance (AMR), are all possible consequences of antimicrobial administration. These risks are increased by longer periods of treatment and unnecessarily broad treatment courses. Recently, the literature has focused on multiple strategies to determine the appropriate duration of antimicrobial therapy. Further, there is a clinical shift to multi-modal approaches to determine the most suitable timepoint at which to end an antibiotic course. An approach utilising biomarker assays and an inter-disciplinary team of pharmacists, nurses, physicians, and microbiologists appears to be the way forward to develop sound clinical decision-making surrounding antibiotic treatment.

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