Medication safety: New protocol

Longer treatment, fewer side effects

By: Kelsey Meany

Cefepime and Piperacillin/tazobacatam may sound scary to say out loud, but they are crucial drugs commonly used for hospital-acquired infections.

The drugs are antibiotics from the beta-lactam family, the same family as penicillin, said Abigail Dee Antigua, Pharm.D., a clinical pharmacy specialist at UF Health Shands Hospital. In the past, patients were infused with drugs over a period of 30 minutes, but beginning last June this treatment was changed to an “extended infusion” given over three or four hours for all patients older than 18.

“By extending the infusion from 30 minutes to three or four hours, we can maximize drug exposure to improve patient outcomes without creating additional side effects,” Antigua said.

To make this key decision, Antigua worked with Lawrence Caruso, M.D., Philip Efron, M.D., and a nursing leadership team to help implement the changes. The nursing staff was educated on the new initiative with the help of Ken Klinker, an antimicrobial stewardship pharmacist.

Antigua said, “It has been a collaborative effort in engaging all nursing and medical services for a successful application.”