The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) have jointly released evidence-based guidelines for implementing an inpatient antibiotic stewardship program.

The guidelines, published April 13 online in Clinical Infectious Diseases, address the optimal use of antibiotics in inpatient populations, and were prepared by a multidisciplinary expert panel of the IDSA and the SHEA, which included representation from the specialties of internal medicine, emergency medicine, microbiology, critical care, surgery, epidemiology, pharmacy, and adult and pediatric infectious diseases.

Antibiotic stewardship has been defined by IDSA, SHEA, and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society as “coordinated interventions designed to improve and measure the appropriate use of [antibiotic] agents by promoting the selection of the optimal [antibiotic] drug regimen including dosing, duration of therapy, and route of administration.” The new guidelines discuss a broad range of possible interventions, but the authors emphasize the need “for each site to assess its clinical needs and available resources and individualize its [antibiotic stewardship program] with that assessment in mind.”

The process used in the development of the guidelines included a systematic weighting of the strength of recommendation and quality of evidence using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation) system, according to Dr. Tamar F. Barlam of the section of infectious diseases at Boston University, and her colleagues.

“The benefits of antibiotic stewardship include improved patient outcomes, reduced adverse events including Clostridium difficile infection, improvement in rates of antibiotic susceptibilities to targeted antibiotics, and optimization of resource utilization across the continuum of care,” Dr. Barlam and her coauthors wrote.

A complete list of any potential conflicts of interest for the multiple coauthors is provided with the full stewardship guidelines, which can be reviewed in Clinical Infectious Diseases ( doi: 10.1093/cid/ciw118 ).

On Twitter @richpizzi