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Perspectives and concerns regarding antimicrobial agent shortages among infectious disease specialists.

Gundlapalli AV, Beekmann SE, Graham DR, Polgreen PM, Infectious Diseases Society of America's Emerging Infections Network. Perspectives and concerns regarding antimicrobial agent shortages among infectious disease specialists. Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease. 2013 Mar 1; 75(3):256-9.

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Antimicrobial shortages have made treating certain infections more difficult. A web-based survey asking about experience with antimicrobial drug shortages was distributed in 2011 to 1328 infectious diseases physician members of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Network of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. A majority (78%) of 627 respondents reported needing to modify antimicrobial choices because of drug shortages within the past 2 years. Antimicrobials most often reported as not available or available but in short supply were trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole injection (by 65% of respondents), amikacin (by 58%), aztreonam (by 31%), and foscarnet (by 22%). Most respondents (55%) reporting a shortage indicated that the shortage adversely affected patient outcomes and that they were forced to use alternative and second line agents which were either less effective, more toxic, or more costly. Most (70%) indicated that they learned about the shortage from contact with the pharmacy after trying to prescribe a drug in short supply. More effective means of informing physicians about drug shortages is critical to lessen the impact on patient care.

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