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Patients With Serious Injection Drug Use-Related Infections who Experience Patient-Directed Discharges on Oral Antibiotics Have High Rates of Antibiotic Adherence but Require Multidisciplinary Outpatient Support for Retention in Care.

Background: Persons who inject drugs (PWID) are frequently admitted for serious injection-related infections (SIRIs). Outcomes and adherence to oral antibiotics for PWID with patient-directed discharge (PDD) remain understudied.

Methods: We conducted a prospective multicenter bundled quality improvement project of PWID with SIRI at 3 hospitals in Missouri. All PWID with SIRI were offered multidisciplinary care while inpatient, including the option of addiction medicine consultation and medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). All patients were offered oral antibiotics in the event of a PDD either at discharge or immediately after discharge through an infectious diseases telemedicine clinic. Additional support services included health coaches, a therapist, a case manager, free clinic follow-up, and medications in an outpatient bridge program. Patient demographics, comorbidities, 90-day readmissions, and substance use disorder clinic follow-up were compared between PWID with PDD on oral antibiotics and those who completed intravenous (IV) antibiotics using an as-treated approach.

Results: Of 166 PWID with SIRI, 61 completed IV antibiotics inpatient (37%), while 105 had a PDD on oral antibiotics (63%). There was no significant difference in 90-day readmission rates between groups ( P  = .819). For PWID with a PDD on oral antibiotics, 7.6% had documented nonadherence to antibiotics, 67% had documented adherence, and 23% were lost to follow-up. Factors protective against readmission included antibiotic and MOUD adherence, engagement with support team, and clinic follow-up.

Conclusions: PWID with SIRI who experience a PDD should be provided with oral antibiotics. Multidisciplinary outpatient support services are needed for PWID with PDD on oral antibiotics.

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