Challenges of Antibiotic Formulations and Administration in the Treatment of Bloodstream Infections in Children Under Five Admitted to Kisantu Hospital, Democratic Republic of Congo

Bieke Tack, Daniel Vita, Emmanuel Ntangu, Japhet Ngina, Pathy Mukoko, Adèle Lutumba, Dina Vangeluwe, Jaan Toelen, Karel Allegaert, Octavie Lunguya, Raffaella Ravinetto, Jan Jacobs

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Severe bacterial infections in children need prompt, appropriate antibiotic treatment. We report challenges observed within a prospective, cohort study on antibiotic efficacy in non-typhi Salmonella bloodstream infection (NCT04850677) in Kisantu district hospital (Democratic Republic of Congo). Children (aged > 28 days to < 5 years) admitted with suspected bloodstream infection (August 1, 2021 through July 31, 2022) were enrolled and followed until day 3 or discharge for non-typhi Salmonella patients. Antibiotics were administered to 98.4% (1,838/1,867) of children, accounting for 2,296 antibiotic regimens (95.7% intravenous, 4.3% oral). Only 78.3% and 61.8% of children were, respectively, prescribed and administered antibiotics on the admission day. At least one dose was not administered in 3.6% of children, mostly because of mismatch of the four times daily cefotaxime schedule with the twice-daily administration rounds. Inappropriate intravenous administration practices included multidose use, air-venting, and direct injection instead of perfusion. There was inaccurate aliquoting in 18.0% (32/178) of intravenous ciprofloxacin regimens, and thus administered doses were > 16% below the intended dose. Dosing accuracy of oral suspensions was impaired by lack of instructions for reconstitution, volume indicators, and/or dosing devices. Adult-dose tablets were split without/beyond scoring lines in 84.4% (27/32) of tablets. Poor availability and affordability of age-appropriate oral formulations contributed to low proportions of intravenous-to-oral switch (33.3% (79/237) of non-typhi Salmonella patients). Other quality issues included poor packaging, nonhomogeneous suspensions, and unsafe water for reconstitution. In conclusion, poor antibiotic products (no age-appropriate formulations, poor quality and access), processes (delayed prescription/administration, missed doses), and practices (inaccurate doses, [bio]safety risks) must be urgently addressed to improve pediatric antibiotic treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30-Oct-2023

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