The impact of antibiotic misuse has far-reaching consequences in healthcare, including reduced efficacy of the drugs, increased prevalence of drug-resistant organisms, and increased risk of deadly infections. A new study featured in the February issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, found that many patients with Clostridium difficile infection (C. difficile) are prescribed unnecessary antibiotics, increasing their risk of recurrence of the deadly infection. The retrospective report shows that unnecessary antibiotics use is alarmingly common in this vulnerable patient population.
C. difficile is a bacteria that usually affects people with recent antibiotic use or hospitalization. The symptoms of C. difficile range from mild diarrhea to severe illness and death, and it is now one of the most common healthcare-associated infections. Patients with C. difficile often experience recurrent episodes of the infection, especially if they receive antibiotics again in the future.