To assess the impact of an intravenous-to-oral (iv-po) stepdown program on the relative use of oral and parenteral dosage forms of select antimicrobials.
A retrospective review of drug utilization records before and after a trial comparing metronidazole and clindamycin prescribing trends from a 12-month baseline period to a four-year follow-up period.
One thousand-bed Canadian tertiary care referral teaching center.
An authorized iv-po stepdown program was developed to promote the oral route of drug administration. Reminders of iv-po stepdown were produced for metronidazole and clindamycin and these notes were sent to nursing units with the parenteral dosage form. The notes then were attached to the front of the health record to serve as a reminder to prescribers that an equally effective, well-tolerated, and less-expensive oral dosage form was available for use.
A 44 percent relative increase in the use of oral metronidazole and a 79 percent relative increase in the use of oral clindamycin occurred. When acquisition and delivery costs were considered, cumulative cost savings from 1988 to 1991 resulted for metronidazole ($31,920) and clindamycin ($53,880).
This intervention represents a simple yet effective method of promoting a process of stepdown from parenteral to oral antibiotic therapy.