Insufficient Levels of Antibiotics – New Study Shows Alarming Results

A recent Swedish clinical study on intensive care patients shows that 45% had received an insufficient amount of antibiotics, jeopardizing the recovery of the patient and increasing the risk of developing antibiotic resistant bacteria. That’s almost every other patient. In Sweden, as well as in other countries, personalized medication can be the key to efficacy and safety improvement.

Swedish scientific researcher Hanna Woksepp has presented new a study on intensive care patients in Kalmar, Linköping, Växjö and Jönköping. The results are quite alarming and show that we have a long way to go when it comes to efficacy in intensive care. Of the participants in the clinical study, nearly half received insufficient amounts of antibiotics during treatment.

“The most important conclusion in my study is that we should personalize the antibiotics treatment for patients that are very ill,” Hanna Woksepp explains to LäkemedelsVärlden (in Swedish).

A Work in Progress
When a physician adjusts the antibiotics dosage, he or she normally takes body weight and renal function into consideration. But in intensive care, individual adjustment should also take place while the treatment is in progress. By analyzing the blood right before each dosage is about to be given, you will know if the levels are right and you can adjust accordingly.

Efficient Methods for Maximum Efficacy

In her thesis, Woksepp also presents new methods for measuring antibiotics in the blood, one of which is a microbiological method that can be used at any hospital laboratory. A blood sample taken from the patient is mixed with a known bacterial strain and the extent to which the bacteria dies shows the levels of antibiotics.

“Dr. Woksepp’s study clearly shows the need for improved systems and methods to improve efficacy of antibiotic treatment. There are methods to analyze the antibiotic level in blood. The problem with these methods is that they are very expensive and takes too long to perform to be able to provide any useful feedback to the current treatment. What is needed are systems that can be used closer to the patient where the physician can have a response within minutes to be able to adjust medication levels faster,” Says Mats Högberg, CEO of Pharmacolog.

To reach the desired efficacy in personalized medication, studies such as this one are very important. Not only do they improve the way each individual patient responds to medication, they also raise awareness of the greater challenge – to create a health environment where medical treatment never has the opposite effect of what’s intended.

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Photo: Alex&Martin