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Background: The deployment of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) teams to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic can lead to a loss of developed frameworks, best practices and leadership resulting in adverse impact on antimicrobial prescribing and resistance. We aim to investigate effects of reduction in AMS resources during the COVID-19 pandemic on antimicrobial prescribing. Methods: One of 5 full-time equivalent AMS pharmacists was deployed to support pandemic work and AMS rounds with infectious disease physicians were reduced from 5 to 2 times a week. A survey in acute inpatients was conducted using the Global Point Prevalence Survey methodology in July 2020 and compared with those in 2015 and 2017–2019. Results: The prevalence of antimicrobial prescribing (55% in 2015 to 49% in 2019 and 47% in 2020, p = 0.02) and antibacterials (54% in 2015 to 45% in 2019 and 42% in 2020, p < 0.01) have been reducing despite the pandemic. Antimicrobial prescribing in infectious disease wards with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases was 29% in 2020. Overall, antimicrobial prescribing quality indicators continued to improve (e.g. reasons in notes, 91% in 2015 to 94% in 2019 and 97% in 2020, p < 0.01) or remained stable (compliance to guideline, 71% in 2015 to 62% in 2019 and 73% in 2020, p = 0.08). Conclusion: During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no increase in antimicrobial prescribing and no significant differences in antimicrobial prescribing quality indicators.
Ng, T. M., Tan, S. H., Heng, S. T., Tay, H. L., Yap, M. Y., Chua, B. H., … Lee, T. H. (2021). Effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on antimicrobial prevalence and prescribing in a tertiary hospital in Singapore. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13756-021-00898-8