Background — In primary care, patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are frequently prescribed excessive doses of antibiotics relative to their kidney function. We examined whether nephrology comanagement is associated with improved prescribing in primary care.
Methods — In a retrospective propensity score-matched cross-sectional study, we studied the appropriateness of antibiotic prescriptions by primary care physicians to Ontarians ≥66 years of age with CKD Stages 4 and 5 (estimated glomerular filtration rate <30 mL/min/1.73 m2 not receiving dialysis) from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2014. Comanagement was defined as having at least one outpatient visit with a nephrologist within the year prior to antibiotic prescription date. We compared the rate of appropriately dosed antibiotics in primary care between 3937 patients who were comanaged by a nephrologist and 3937 patients who were not.
Results — Only 1184 (30%) of 3937 noncomanaged patients had appropriately dosed antibiotic prescriptions prescribed by a primary care physician. Nephrology comanagement was associated with an increased likelihood that an appropriately dosed prescription was prescribed by a primary care physician; however, the magnitude of the effect was modest [1342/3937 (34%); odds ratio 1.20 (95% confidence interval 1.09-1.32); P < 0.001].
Conclusion — The majority of antibiotics prescribed by primary care physicians are inappropriately dosed in CKD patients, whether or not a nephrologist is comanaging the patient. Nephrologists have an opportunity to increase awareness of appropriate dosing of medications in primary care through the patients they comanage.