Evaluation of antifungal use in a tertiary care institution: antifungal stewardship urgently needed

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Abstract

Objectives:

To assess the quality of antifungal use, to propose a point score for this evaluation and to estimate the potential economic savings of an antifungal stewardship programme.

Methods:

From December 2010 to January 2011, we identified 100 adult inpatients receiving systemic antifungals. Antifungal use was evaluated by means of a predefined score that considered indication, drug selection, dosage, adjustments after microbiology results, switching to an oral agent and length of treatment. Total antifungal prescriptions [in defined daily doses (DDDs) and days of therapy (DOTs)] and potential cost savings were calculated.

Results:

Overall, 43% of prescriptions came from medical departments, 25% from haematology/oncology and 17% from intensive care units. The main reasons for starting antifungals were empirical (42%), pre-emptive (20%) and targeted treatment (20%). Antifungals were unnecessary in 16% of cases. Inadequacies in other aspects of antifungal prescription were: drug selection, 31%; dosing, 16%; no switch from intravenous to oral administration, 20%; no adjustment after microbiological results, 35%; and length of therapy, 27%. The number of antifungal DDDs per 1000 patient-days was 65.1. The total number of DOTs was 1556, which added a direct cost of €219 364. Only 51.3% of DOTs were considered optimal. The potential estimated savings would be €50 536.

Conclusions:

Major efforts should be made to improve the selection and duration of antifungal therapy. Our study demonstrated the potential cost savings that could be achieved by optimizing antifungal therapy. A stewardship programme should include an instrument to objectively evaluate the adequacy of antifungal use.

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