Throughout pharmacy school, fourth-year student Katie Blomquist was intrigued by infectious diseases. Through the support of her infectious disease professor, Dr. David Nix PharmD, BCPS (AQ-ID), Blomquist turned her curious passion into a unique educational experience that led to her publishing her first review article.
The article, "A Critical Evaluation of Newer β-Lactam Antibiotics for Treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infections," is about newer β-lactam antibiotics and how they are able to overcome common resistance mechanisms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a type of bacteria commonly found in water or soil. P. Aeruginosa frequently causes infections that occur more frequently in people with weakened immune systems. The highest-risk patients are those with structural lung disease, those who are immunocompromised, and generally those who require invasive devices such as a Foley catheter.
The goal of this article was to explore the role of the newer β-lactam antibiotics in the treatment of P. Aeruginosa infections and highlighted potential activity gains of these antibiotics and the current clinical data to support their use.
During the writing process, Blomquist felt she learned a lot more about critically evaluating expert resources. She believes her ability to comprehend and efficiently locate information improved immensely through her extensive literature search. As a student and future pharmacist, these skills are priceless.
The short-term implications of this research include providing pharmacists with further information on the role of these antibiotics in treating P. Aeruginosa infections. Pharmacists will be asked to recommend or evaluate the use of these antibiotics and need to be aware of the available information specific to, which is different from experience derived from other similar bacteria types they may encounter as healthcare providers.
The current practice in many hospitals is to limit these antibiotics to cases where there is resistance to first-line antibiotics based on in vitro susceptibility. Susceptibility testing results may be delayed with these newer antibiotics, so empirical use may be necessary in some cases.
The long-term implications of this research show the need for plans to be developed for antimicrobial stewardship programs to ensure the appropriate use of these new antibiotics. Antimicrobial stewardship helps prevent misuse and overuse of antibiotics. This ultimately helps improve patient outcomes, reduces the risk of bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics, and helps decrease the spread of infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria.
More studies of these antibiotics and the development of rapid means to detect antimicrobial resistance is going to be essential to achieving their optimal use.
When asked about what advice she would give to her fellow pharmacy students who may be interested in pursuing their own curious passion, Blomquist responded, “If you have an experience you want to accomplish or you have a goal of getting involved don't be afraid to ask a faculty member, someone in that area of interest. They’re there to help us and they want to help us.”
She feels the experience of publishing a review article was incredibly rewarding and she is grateful that the College of Pharmacy provided the tools and resources necessary to break new ground.