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Burden of enteral supplement interactions with common antimicrobial agents: a single-centre observational analysis
  1. Stephen Hughes1,
  2. Katie Heard1,
  3. Nabeela Mughal2,
  4. Luke Stephen Proctor Moore2
  1. 1Pharmacy, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  2. 2Microbiology, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mr Stephen Hughes, Pharmacy, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK; stephen.hughes2{at}


Introduction Oral antimicrobials, including ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin and doxycycline, are susceptible to binding with enteral therapies such as calcium and iron therapies. Administered together, the bioavailability of these antimicrobials is expected to be reduced.

Methods A retrospective case series of patients receiving oral antimicrobials (ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin and doxycycline) was analysed at a single-centre NHS acute hospital (April 2016–September 2019). Patient demographics, including concurrent enteral therapies, were recorded using medical records. Clinically important interactions were defined as doses administered within 2 hours of antimicrobial therapy.

Results A total of 4067 prescriptions for the study antimicrobials (ciprofloxacin, n=1905; levofloxacin, n=538; and doxycycline, n=1624) were prescribed for 3584 patients. 1918/3583 (53.5%) of the patients were female, and the median age was 67 years (range 0.5–105.0 years). 810/4067 (19.3%) prescriptions reviewed had an interacting enteral therapy (calcium or iron salt) administered within 2 hours of the study medication.

Conclusion The concomitant administration of enteral calcium and iron with oral antimicrobials is common within the acute care hospital setting. Approximately one in five patients has a clinically important interaction which may impair oral bioavailability and limit treatment efficacy. As antimicrobial stewardship teams strive for increased intravenous-to-oral de-escalation, it is important that optimum dosing administration is followed to optimise patient outcomes.

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