Antibiotic use in patients with COVID-19: a 'snapshot' Infectious Diseases International Research Initiative (ID-IRI) survey

Bojana Beović, May Doušak, João Ferreira-Coimbra, Kristina Nadrah, Francesca Rubulotta, Mirko Belliato, Joana Berger-Estilita, Folusakin Ayoade, Jordi Rello, Hakan Erdem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Antibiotics may be indicated in patients with COVID-19 due to suspected or confirmed bacterial superinfection. OBJECTIVES: To investigate antibiotic prescribing practices in patients with COVID-19. METHODS: We performed an international web-based survey and investigated the pattern of antibiotic use as reported by physicians involved in treatment of COVID-19. SPSS Statistics version 25 was used for data analysis. RESULTS: The survey was completed by 166 participants from 23 countries and 82 different hospitals. Local guidelines for antibiotic use in COVID-19 patients were reported by 61.8% (n = 102) of participants and for 82.9% (n = 136) they did not differ from local community-acquired pneumonia guidelines. Clinical presentation was recognized as the most important reason for the start of antibiotics (mean score = 4.07 and SD = 1.095 on grading scale from 1 to 5). When antibiotics were started, most respondents rated as the highest the need for coverage of atypical pathogens (mean score = 2.8 and SD = 0.99), followed by Staphylococcus aureus (mean score = 2.67 and SD = 1.05 on bi-modal scale, with values 1 and 2 for disagreement and values 3 and 4 for agreement). In the patients on the ward, 29.1% of respondents chose not to prescribe any antibiotic. Combination of β-lactams and macrolides or fluoroquinolones was reported by 52.4% (n = 87) of respondents. In patients in the ICU, piperacillin/tazobactam was the most commonly prescribed antibiotic. The mean reported duration of antibiotic treatment was 7.12 (SD = 2.44) days. CONCLUSIONS: The study revealed widespread broad-spectrum antibiotic use in patients with COVID-19. Implementation of antimicrobial stewardship principles is warranted to mitigate the negative consequences of antibiotic therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3386-3390
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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