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Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2001 Spring;17(2):171-80.

A randomized trial to measure the optimal role of the pharmacist in promoting evidence-based antibiotic use in acute care hospitals.

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Mt. Sinai Hospital.



There is a considerable gap between randomized clinical trials and implementing the results into practice. This is particularly relevant in the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics in hospitals. Hospital pharmacists can be effective vehicles for bridging this gap and promoting evidence-based medicine. To determine the most effective way of using the pharmacist in this role, a prospective cefotaxime intervention study was conducted with randomization incorporated into the design as well as patient-related therapeutic outcomes.


A total of 323 patients who were prescribed cefotaxime were randomized into an intervention or nonintervention group where only the former was challenged by pharmacists for inappropriate cefotaxime usage relative to hospital guidelines. The primary outcome was the appropriateness of cefotaxime prescribing between groups. Logistic regression analysis was then used to identify factors that were associated with successful clinical response.


Overall, 94% of orders in the intervention group met cefotaxime dosage criteria compared with 86% in the control group (p = .018). However, there was no impact with respect to promoting cefotaxime use for an appropriate indication (81% vs. 80%; p = .67). There was a trend for improved clinical outcomes in patients who received cefotaxime within hospital guidelines (OR = 1.73; p = .31).


The pharmacist as a vehicle for promoting the appropriate use of broad-spectrum antibiotics in the acute care hospital setting can improve the dosing of such agents. However, several barriers to optimizing the impact of the pharmacist were implied by the data. Removing these barriers could increase the pharmacists' utility as an agent for improved patient care.

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