The Effect of a Piperacillin/Tazobactam Shortage on Antimicrobial Prescribing and Clostridium difficile Risk in 88 US Medical Centers

Background. Anti-infective shortages are a pervasive problem in the United States. The objective of this study was to identify any associations between changes in prescribing of antibiotics that have a high risk for CDI during a piperacillin/tazobactam (PIP/TAZO) shortage and hospital-onset Clostridium difficile infection (HO-CDI) risk in 88 US medical centers. Methods. We analyzed electronically captured microbiology and antibiotic use data from a network of US hospitals from July 2014 through June 2016. The primary outcome was HO-CDI rate and the secondary outcome was changes in antibiotic usage. We fit a Poisson model to estimate the risk of HO-CDI associated with PIP/TAZO shortage that were associated with increased high-risk antibiotic use while controlling for hospital characteristics. Results. A total of 88 hospitals experienced PIP/TAZO shortage and 72 of them experienced a shift toward increased use of high-risk antibiotics during the shortage period. The adjusted relative risk (RR) of HO-CDI for hospitals experiencing a PIP/TAZO shortage was 1.03 (95% confidence interval [CI], .85-1.26; P = .73). The adjusted RR of HO-CDI for hospitals that both experienced a shortage and also showed a shift toward increased use of high-risk antibiotics was 1.30 (95% CI, 1.03-1.64; P < .05). Conclusions. Hospitals that experienced a PIP/TAZO shortage and responded to that shortage by shifting antibiotic usage toward antibiotics traditionally known to place patients at greater risk for CDI experienced greater HO-CDI rates; this highlights an important adverse effect of the PIP/TAZO shortage and the importance of antibiotic stewardship when mitigating drug shortages.

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