Rev Esp Quimioter 2008;21(Núm. Ext. 1):26-34

Pharmacoeconomics of infection in the intensive care unit

S. Grau ,  F. Álvarez-Lerma 


The intensive care unit (ICU) services are areas that have a need for greater use of economic resources, including the frequent use of higher priced drugs, standing out among them those corresponding to antimicrobial agents. This situation has led many hospital sites to include the ICU within those units needing special monitoring in regards to the use of drugs and the introduction of cost-containment programs in the ICU. It is possible that indiscriminate restriction in the financial cost section aimed at antimicrobial agents may mean that these drugs may be prescribed more inappropriately, a practice that has been related with greater mortality of patients with severe infections. Thus, the pharmacoeconomics of infection in the ICU should be analyzed through the study of different aspects and not only from the strict analysis of direct cost of the antimicrobial agents. In the present review, the cost of infection in the ICU has been analyzed, contemplating a series of perspectives that are considered essential and demonstrating, at all times, that evaluation of the cost of acquiring the antimicrobial agent as the only element for its choice should be avoided. The analysis was made by evaluating cost of infection in the ICU, the strategies for the control of use and cost of antibiotics in the ICU, importance of adequate early empiric treatment, the costs associated with the development of bacterial resistances and pharmacoeconomic studies.


Key words: Pharmacoeconomics. ICU. Infection. Pharmacoeconomic studies. Antibiotic policy. Early antibiotic treatment.

Rev Esp Quimioter 2008;21(Núm. Ext. 1):26-34  [pdf]