Is procalcitonin biomarker-guided antibiotic therapy a cost-effective approach to reduce antibiotic resistant and Clostridium difficile infections in hospitalized patients?

Research article published in Omics: a journal of integrative biology, Vol. 22, No. 9

AUTHORS: Steuten L, Mewes J, Lepage-Nefkens I, Vrijhoef H


Antibiotics (AB) can reduce morbidity and mortality in the treatment of patients with sepsis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations. Yet, AB overuse or misuse increases antibiotic resistance (ABR) and Clostridium difficile infections (CDI). This study projected the expected impact of a procalcitonin (PCT) biomarker testing strategy on incremental ABR cases and CDI, and costs of care in a population of patients hospitalized with suspected sepsis or a COPD exacerbation, in three European countries: the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands. Based on a systematic literature search and a decision model, we analyzed the number of ABR and CDI cases avoided and the incremental healthcare costs per patient from a societal perspective over the time horizon of a hospital stay. In the sepsis population, the PCT-guided antibiotic prescription strategy was projected to reduce the number of ABR cases with circa 6%, the number of CDI cases with 21%, and societal costs with circa €1300 per patient. In the COPD population, the number of ABR and CDI cases is reduced with circa 50%, and societal cost savings ranged €1701, €2473, and €2435 per patient in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, respectively. Model outcomes were most sensitive to the impact of the PCT-guided strategy on the number of intensive care unit days and general hospital ward days. Taken together, a PCT biomarker-guided antibiotic management strategy is likely to reduce the number of ABR and CDI cases and generate cost savings in a population of patients hospitalized with suspected sepsis or with a COPD exacerbation.

Keywords: antibiotic stewardship; biomarkers; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; economic evaluation; procalcitonin; sepsis