Surveillance of life-long antibiotics—A cross-sectional cohort study assessing patient attitudes and understanding of long-term antibiotic consumption

Jillian S.Y. Lau, Shivani Bhatt, Richard Streitberg, Melissa Bryant, Tony M. Korman, Ian Woolley

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Some patients receive long-term or life-long antibiotics for suppression of infections deemed otherwise incurable. Little is known about the consequences of this strategy. We aimed to explore patients' attitudes towards and knowledge concerning prolonged antibiotic therapy. Methods: A cross-sectional cohort pilot study of outpatients on long-term antibiotics was performed. Surveys were conducted at our healthcare network in Victoria, Australia between April and December 2015. Microbiological screening for multi-resistant organisms (MRO) was also performed. Results: Heterogeneity was noted in the prescribed antibiotics and documented indications, with rifampicin and fusidic acid for suppression of prosthetic joint infection the most common regimen and indication. 41% (12/29) of participants reported side-effects attributed to their antibiotics, but 72% (21/29) still declared complete adherence to their prescribed regimen. 76% (22/29) of participants stated that they would cease their long-term antibiotics based on medical advice. 19/29 (66%) participants consented to microbiological screening and 4 were found to be colonised with MROs. They had spent more days as an inpatient in the preceding 12 months than the screened participants who were not colonised. Conclusion: Participants in this study had a good understanding of their infection and the indications for their long-term antibiotic therapy, and were adherent to this therapy despite many experiencing side-effects attributed to their antibiotics. Patients who are prescribed life-long antibiotics can be carriers of multi-resistant organisms, but both the drivers of this resistance, and the broader impact of colonisation with MRO in this population is unclear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalInfection, Disease and Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Anti-bacterial agents
  • Hospitals
  • Infection
  • Patients
  • Prevention and control
  • Surveys and questionnaires

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