An RCT of an antimicrobial stewardship intervention reduced antibiotic use for suspected urinary tract infections in frail older adults
The introduction of an antimicrobial stewardship intervention to older adult care facilities, significantly reduced the level of antibiotic prescribing for frail older adults with a suspected urinary tract infection according to the findings of a cluster, randomised trial by European researchers.
Antimicrobial resistance poses a global, major threat to human health and is recognised as a leading cause of deaths around the world. Older and frail adults are often prescribed antibiotics for a urinary tract infection (UTI) and often in the presence of non-specific symptoms such as confusion. Moreover, the presence of asymptomatic bacteriuria is a common finding which has become recognised as an important contributor to inappropriate antimicrobial use that ultimately promotes emergence of antimicrobial resistance. To date antibiotic stewardship interventions in long-term care facilities suggest that such programs collectively suggest potential to reduce antimicrobial use though the available interventions vary considerably with respect to design and intensity.
In the current study, researchers made use of a multifaceted antibiotic stewardship intervention that included a decision tool for appropriate use of antibiotics for a UTI and which was previously developed by an international expert team. The researchers wanted to find out if the intervention was effective in reducing antibiotic prescribing for suspected urinary tract infections in various older adult care settings, in comparison to usual care, in several European countries. The team used a pragmatic, parallel, cluster randomised controlled trial, with a 5 month baseline data collection period and a 7 month follow-up. They set the primary outcome as the number of antibiotic prescriptions for a suspected UTI per person-year, whereas secondary outcomes focused on the level of complications, hospital admissions and all-cause mortality.
Antimicrobial stewardship and treatment of suspected urinary tract infections
A total of 1,041 participants with a mean age of 86.3 years (70.9% female) were included and of whom, 502 were randomised to the antibiotic stewardship intervention.
During the baseline period, there was no difference in the level of antibiotic prescribing for a suspected UTI in the two groups (0.50 per person year vs 0.44 per person year, intervention vs usual care). However, during the follow-up period, the corresponding rates were 0.27 per person-year (intervention ) and 0.58 per person-year (usual care). This equated to an adjusted rate ratio of 0.42 (95% CI 0.26 – 0.68, p < 0.001).
Furthermore, there were no differences between groups with respect to either complications, hospital admissions or all-cause mortality.
The authors concluded that their antimicrobial stewardship intervention safely reduced antibiotic prescribing for a suspected UTI in frail older adults.
Hartman EAR et al. Effect of a multifaceted antibiotic stewardship intervention to improve antibiotic prescribing for suspected urinary tract infections in frail older adults (ImpresU): pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial in four European countries. BMJ 2023