Point Prevalence Survey of Antimicrobial Use and Resistance during the COVID-19 Era among Hospitals in Saudi Arabia and the Implications

Abdul Haseeb, Safa S.Almarzoky Abuhussain, Saleh Alghamdi, Shahad M. Bahshwan, Ahmad J. Mahrous, Yazeed A. Alzahrani, Albaraa Faraj Alzahrani, Abdullmoin AlQarni, Manal AlGethamy, Asem Saleh Naji, Asim Abdulaziz Omar Khogeer, Muhammad Shahid Iqbal, Brian Godman*, Zikria Saleem*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The inappropriate prescribing of antimicrobials increases antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which poses an appreciable threat to public health, increasing morbidity and mortality. Inappropriate antimicrobial prescribing includes their prescribing in patients hospitalized with COVID-19, despite limited evidence of bacterial infections or coinfections. Knowledge of current antimicrobial utilization in Saudi Arabia is currently limited. Consequently, the objective of this study was to document current antimicrobial prescribing patterns among Saudi hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study included patients with or without COVID-19 who were admitted to five hospitals in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Data were gathered using the Global PPS methodology and analyzed using descriptive statistics. Out of 897 hospitalized patients, 518 were treated with antibiotics (57.7%), with an average of 1.9 antibiotics per patient. There were 174 culture reports collected, representing 36.5% of all cases. The most common indication for antibiotics use was community-acquired infections, accounting for 61.4% of all cases. ‘Watch’ antibiotics were the most commonly prescribed antibiotics, with the cephalosporins and carbapenems representing 38.7% of all antibiotics prescribed, followed by the penicillins (23.2%). Notably, Piperacillin/Tazobactam and Azithromycin were prescribed at relatively higher rates for COVID-19 patients. These findings highlight the need for continuous efforts to optimize the rational use of antibiotics through instigating appropriate antimicrobial stewardship programs in hospitals and, as a result, reduce AMR in the country.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1609
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • AWaRe classification
  • Saudi Arabia
  • antibiotics
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • hospitals
  • point prevalence survey


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