Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

New CDC Vital Signs: Antibiotic Prescribing Putting Patients at Risk

Antibiotics can be lifesaving, but poor prescribing practices put hospital patients at risk for preventable allergic reactions, super-resistant infections, and deadly diarrhea caused by Clostridium difficile.  These practices also drive antibiotic resistance, further endangering the future of these miracle drugs and the patients who need them.  For some hospital patients, it is already too late.  We must change prescribing practices now.

According to a new CDC Vital Signs report:

  • About one-third of the time, prescribing practices to treat urinary tract infections and prescriptions for the critical and common drug vancomycin included a potential error. This means that many patients are given drugs without proper testing or evaluation, or were given drugs for too long.
  • Clinicians in some hospitals prescribed three times as many antibiotics as clinicians in other hospitals, even though patients were receiving care in similar areas of each hospital. This difference suggests the need to improve prescribing practices. 
  • A 30 percent reduction in the antibiotics most likely to cause C. difficile infections can reduce these deadly infections by more than 25 percent.

To help hospitals develop antibiotic prescribing improvement programs (also called “antibiotic stewardship” programs), CDC has developed an accompanying checklist and  Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs.

Graphics / Images

  • Graphic:  Medical illustration of Clostridium difficile.

    Medical illustration of Clostridium difficile

  • Photo:Yellow-green fluorescence of Clostridium difficile under long-wave UV irradiation on a CCFA plate..

    Yellow-green fluorescence of Clostridium difficile under long-wave UV irradiation on a CCFA plate.

  • Infographic: Antibiotic Rx for Hospitals; Proceed with Caution; If prescriptions of high-risk antibiotics in hospitals are reduced by 30%, then it could lead to26% fewer cases of deadly diarrhea infections; Source: CDC Vital Signs. March 2014. www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns.

    Infographic: Antibiotic Rx for Hospitals: Proceed with Caution

  • Infographic: Reducing prescriptions of high-risk antibiotics by 30% in hospitals can lower deadly diarrhea infections by 26%

    Reducing prescriptions of high-risk antibiotics by 30% in hospitals can lower deadly diarrhea infections by 26%.

  • Infographic: Doctors in some hospitals prescribed 3 times as many antibiotics as doctors in other hospitals.

    Doctors in some hospitals prescribed 3 times as many antibiotics as doctors in other hospitals.

  • Infographic: More than half of all hospital patients receive an antibiotic.

    More than half of all hospital patients receive an antibiotic.

  • Infografía: Antibióticos recetados en los hospitales Tenga cuidado Si se redujera un 30 % la práctica de recetar antibióticos de alto riesgo en los hospitales 30 %Entonces podrían disminuir un 26 % los casos de infecciones diarreicas mortales 26 % FUENTE: Signos Vitales de los CDC. Marzo de 2014. www.cdc.gov/spanish/signosvitales

    Infografía: Antibióticos recetados en los hospitales.

  • Infografía:Reducir las recetas de antibióticos de alto riesgo un 30 % en los hospitales puede disminuir las infecciones diarreicas mortales un 26 %.

    Reducir las recetas de antibióticos de alto riesgo un 30 % en los hospitales puede disminuir las infecciones diarreicas mortales un 26 %.

  • Infografía: En algunos hospitales los médicos recetan el triple de antibióticos que en otros.

    En algunos hospitales los médicos recetan el triple de antibióticos que en otros.

  • Infografía: Más de la mitad de todos los pacientes hospitalizados reciben antibióticos.

    Más de la mitad de todos los pacientes hospitalizados reciben antibióticos.

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286
media@cdc.gov

Spokespersons

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Biography

Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH

Improving antibiotic prescribing can save today’s patients from deadly superbugs and protect lifesaving antibiotics for tomorrow’s patients. Health care facilities are an important part of the solution to drug resistance and every hospital in the country should have a strong antibiotic stewardship program.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Arjun Srinivasan, MD

Biography

Name

Today’s antibiotics are miracle drugs, but they are endangered. CDC’s new materials provide core elements and practical tools for beginning and advancing antibiotic stewardship programs.

Arjun Srinivasan, MD - Associate Director for Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Programs, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, CDC

 
CDC 24/7 – Saving Lives. Protecting People. Saving Money Through Prevention. Learn More About How CDC Works For You…
Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • Contact CDC-INFO
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
A-Z Index
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #