Sparing carbapenem usage

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Carbapenem resistance in Gram-negative bacteria is increasing in many countries and use of carbapenems and antibiotics to which resistance is linked should be reduced to slow its emergence. There are no directly equivalent antibiotics and the alternatives are less well supported by clinical trials. The few new agents are expensive.


To provide guidance on strategies to reduce carbapenem usage.


A literature review was performed as described in the BSAC/HIS/BIA/IPS Joint Working Party on Multiresistant Gram-negative Infection Report.


Older agents remain active against some of the pathogens, although expectations of broad-spectrum cover for empirical treatment have risen. Education, expert advice on treatment and antimicrobial stewardship can produce significant reductions in use.


More agents may need to be introduced onto the antibiotic formulary of the hospital, despite the poor quality of scientific studies in some cases.

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