Implementation of intravenous to oral antibiotic switch therapy guidelines in the general medical wards of a tertiary-level hospital in South Africa

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The design and implementation of an antibiotic intravenous (iv) to oral switch therapy (IVOST) guideline in a Third World health setting.


The guideline was developed and integrated into daily practice by a ward pharmacist over a period of 7 weeks. Patients were switched once they were deemed clinically stable according to IVOST criteria. The final decision to switch was left to the attending physician. One pre- and two post-implementation audits (150 patient medical records per audit) were compared.


Implementation of the IVOST guideline was successful in increasing (P < 0.0005) the number of patients switched from 16% (19/119) pre-implementation to 43.9% (47/107) immediately after implementation; however, the change was not sustained 3 months after implementation (20.8%; 25/120). The intervention was also successful in decreasing the overall duration of iv therapy (P < 0.0005) from 7.2 ± 3.5 days pre-implementation to 5.2 ± 3.0 days immediately post-implementation. The change was not sustained 3 months after implementation (6.5 ± 3.5 days).


Despite the challenges encountered in a Third World environment, an antibiotic IVOST guideline can be successfully implemented. Continual, active integration of the guideline into daily practice by a ward pharmacist is essential if positive IVOST outcomes are to be maintained.

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