Optimizing preoperative antibiotics in patients with β-lactam allergies: A role for pharmacy

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American journal of health-system pharmacy


PURPOSE: Patients with a reported β-lactam allergy (BLA) are often given alternative perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis, increasing risk of surgical site infections (SSIs), acute kidney injury (AKI), and Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI). The purpose of this study was to implement and evaluate a pharmacist-led BLA clarification interview service in the preoperative setting.

METHODS: A pharmacist performed BLA clarification telephone interviews before elective procedures from November 2018 to March 2019. On the basis of allergy history and a decision algorithm, first-line preoperative antibiotics, alternative antibiotics, or allergy testing referral was recommended. The pharmacist intervention (PI) group was compared to a standard of care (SOC) group who underwent surgery from November 2017 to March 2018.

RESULTS: Eighty-seven patients were included, with 50 (57%) and 37 (43%) in the SOC and PI groups, respectively. The most common surgeries included orthopedic surgery in 41 patients (47%) and neurosurgery in 17 patients (20%). In the PI group, all BLA labels were updated after interview. Twenty-three patients were referred for allergy testing, 12 of the 23 (52%) completed BLA testing, and penicillin allergies were removed for 9 of the 12 patients. Overall, 28 of the 37 (76%) pharmacy antibiotic recommendations were accepted. Cefazolin use significantly increased from 28% to 65% after the intervention (P = 0.001). SSI occurred in 5 (10%) patients in the SOC group and no patients in the PI group (P = 0.051). All of these SSIs were associated with alternative antibiotics. Incidence of AKI and CDI was similar between the groups. No allergic reactions occurred in either group.

CONCLUSION: Implementation of a pharmacy-driven BLA reconciliation significantly increased β-lactam preoperative use without negative safety outcomes.

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ePub ahead of print