Antibiotics (Basel). 2021 Jun 18;10(6):738. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics10060738.
Antimicrobials are empirically used in COVID-19 patients resulting in increased antimicrobial resistance. Our objective was to assess antimicrobial use among suspected COVID-19 in-patients. From March to August 2020, we collected data from in-patients of 12 tertiary-level hospitals across Bangladesh. We identified suspected COVID-19 patients; collected information on antimicrobial received within 24 h before and on hospitalization; tested nasopharyngeal swab for SARS-CoV-2 using rRT-PCR. We used descriptive statistics and a regression model for data analysis. Among 1188 suspected COVID-19 patients, 69% were male, 40% had comorbidities, and 53% required oxygen. Antibiotics were used in 92% of patients, 47% within 24 h before, and 89% on admission. Patients also received antiviral (1%) and antiparasitic drugs (3%). Third-generation cephalosporin use was the highest (708; 60%), followed by macrolide (481; 40%), and the majority (853; 78%) who took antibiotics were SARS-CoV-2 negative. On admission, 77% mild and 94% moderately ill patients received antibiotics. Antibiotic use on admission was higher among severely ill patients (AOR = 11.7; 95% CI: 4.5-30.1) and those who received antibiotics within 24 h before hospital admission (AOR = 1.6; 95% CI: 1.0-2.5). Antimicrobial use was highly prevalent among suspected COVID-19 in-patients in Bangladesh. Initiating treatment with third-generation cephalosporin among mild to moderately ill patients was common. Promoting antimicrobial stewardship with monitoring is essential to prevent blanket antibiotic use, thereby mitigating antimicrobial resistance.