Urology procedures involve overuse of antibiotics

Washington: Antibiotics are overused in up to 50 percent of patients undergoing common urological procedures, suggests a new study.

Researchers at the University of Iowa showed that the high rates of overuse were mostly due to the extended use of antibiotics following the procedure. The findings were published in the journal of JAMA Network Open.

It is common for patients undergoing a urological or any other surgical procedure to be given antibiotics as a precaution to prevent a surgery-related infection. But overuse of antibiotics can promote antibiotic resistance, which is defined as a major health concern. Moreover, unnecessary use of antibiotics exposes patients to potential harm, such as an increased risk of infection.

Based on evidence that a longer course of antibiotics does not add any benefit to patient outcomes and may, in fact, increase risks to patient health, the researchers recommend that antibiotics should be given for no more than 24 hours following most urological procedures.

Overall, the study found that 217 of the 375 patients were prescribed antibiotics in a way that did not follow the guidelines. The most common deviation from the guidelines involved antibiotic-prescribing after the procedure: 177 patients (47 percent) were given antibiotics without a clear indication for longer than 24 hours following a procedure. In fact, patients were often given antibiotics for three to five days following a procedure instead of the 24 hours or less than the guidelines recommend.