Many Patients with Skin Infection Don't Complete Antibiotics

APRIL 20, 2016
MD Magazine Staff
Researchers in California suggest that patient adherence with oral antibiotic therapy for skin and soft tissue infections after hospital discharge appears to be low and associated with poor clinical outcomes. Published online on February 29 in the peer-reviewed journal, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, the study found that patients in this population commonly overstate their medication adherence, possibly making identification of those who are at risk for non-adherence and poor outcomes challenging.
 
In this first study of its kind, the investigators found that nearly half (46%) of patients with Staphylococcus aureus skin and soft tissue had a poor clinical response at 30 days after hospital discharge, resulting in a new infection or the need for additional treatment for their existing skin and soft tissue infection. The poor clinical response was likely tied to the finding of an average electronically measured adherence to antibiotic therapy of only 57%, a significantly different adherence rate than that reported by patients themselves (96%).
 
Indeed, in a multivariable model, poor clinical response at 30 days was associated with lower adherence, being non-diabetic, and lack of illicit drug use within the previous 12 months. Higher rates of non-adherence to antibiotic regimens were also found among patients who were prescribed more than one antibiotic upon hospital discharge, were not treated by the same healthcare provider for follow-up visits, or felt they did not have a regular healthcare provider.
 
Despite previous research showing that skin and soft tissue infections are common and frequently recur, and that poor adherence to antibiotic therapy can result in suboptimal outcomes, adherence to oral antibiotics for these infections and the relationship between adherence and clinical outcomes had not been examined in this patient population prior to the current study.
 


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