The time-varying association between previous antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance

Avi Baraz, Michal Chowers, Daniel Nevo, Uri Obolski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The objective of the study was to estimate how the time elapsed from previous antibiotic use is associated with antibiotic resistance. Methods: Data comprised electronic medical records of all patients in an Israeli hospital who had a positive bacterial culture from 2016 to 2019. These included susceptibility testing results and clinical and demographic data. Mixed-effects time-varying logistic models were fitted to estimate the association between the time elapsed since the last use of aminoglycosides and gentamicin resistance (n = 13 095), cephalosporins and ceftazidime resistance (n = 13 051), and fluoroquinolones and ciprofloxacin resistance (n = 15 364) while adjusting for multiple covariates. Results: For all examined antibiotics, previous antibiotic use had a statistically significant association with resistance (p < 0.001). These associations exhibited a clear decreasing pattern over time, which we present as a flexible function of time. Nonetheless, previous antibiotic use remained a significant risk factor for resistance for at least 180 days when the adjusted ORs were 1.94 (95% CI, 1.40–2.69), 1.33 (95% CI, 1.10–1.61), and 2.25 (95% CI, 1.49–3.41) for gentamicin, ceftazidime, and ciprofloxacin, respectively. Discussion: The association between prior antibiotic use and resistance decreases over time. Commonly used cut-offs for prior antibiotic use can either misclassify patients still at higher risk when too recent or provide a diluted estimate of the effects of antibiotic use on future resistance when too distant. Hence, prior antibiotic use should be considered a time-dependent risk factor for resistance in both epidemiological research and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390.e1-390.e4
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Antibiotic use
  • Decay
  • Mixed-effects time-varying logistic model
  • Time since last antibiotic use


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