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1.  Evaluation of Vancomycin in Combination with Piperacillin-Tazobactam or Oxacillin against Clinical Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Isolates and Vancomycin-Intermediate S. aureus Isolates In Vitro 
Vancomycin with piperacillin-tazobactam is used as empirical therapy for critically ill patients. Studies of this combination against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (VISA) are limited, but β-lactams in combination with vancomycin have shown synergistic activity against MRSA and VISA. The goal of this study was to evaluate whether piperacillin-tazobactam and vancomycin were synergistic against MRSA and VISA in vitro. Bloodstream MRSA (n = 20) and VISA (n = 4) strains were selected. In vitro antimicrobial activities of piperacillin-tazobactam and oxacillin were evaluated by disk diffusion, and MICs were determined by Etest using Muller-Hinton agar with and without vancomycin at one-half the MIC. Time-kill studies evaluated 14 MRSA and all 4 VISA isolates using piperacillin-tazobactam at 300/35 mg/liter or oxacillin at 40 mg/liter alone and with vancomycin at one-half the MIC. Mean zones of inhibition for piperacillin-tazobactam and oxacillin increased with vancomycin against MRSA and VISA (P < 0.001 for all), and the MIC90 decreased with vancomycin against MRSA and VISA to values meeting susceptibility criteria for S. aureus (P < 0.001 for both antibiotics against MRSA). In MRSA time-kill studies, the mean 24-h reductions in inoculum for piperacillin-tazobactam, piperacillin-tazobactam with vancomycin, and oxacillin with vancomycin were 3.53, 3.69, and 2.62 log10 CFU/ml, respectively. The mean 24-h reductions in VISA inoculum for piperacillin-tazobactam, piperacillin-tazobactam with vancomycin, and oxacillin with vancomycin were 2.85, 2.93, and 3.45 log10 CFU/ml, respectively. Vancomycin with piperacillin-tazobactam or oxacillin demonstrated synergistic activity against MRSA and VISA. The clinical implications of these combinations against MRSA and VISA should be investigated.
PMCID: PMC3910859  PMID: 24277036
2.  β-Lactams Enhance Vancomycin Activity against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia Compared to Vancomycin Alone 
Vancomycin (VAN) is often used to treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia despite a high incidence of microbiological failure. Recent in vitro analyses of β-lactams in combination with VAN demonstrated synergistic activity against MRSA. The goal of this study was to examine the impact of combination therapy with VAN and a β-lactam (Combo) on the microbiological eradication of MRSA bacteremia compared to VAN alone. This was a retrospective cohort study of patients with MRSA bacteremia who received Combo therapy or VAN alone. Microbiological eradication of MRSA, defined as a negative blood culture obtained after initiation of therapy, was used to evaluate the efficacy of each regimen. A total of 80 patients were included: 50 patients in the Combo group and 30 patients in the VAN-alone group. Microbiological eradication was achieved in 48 patients (96%) in the Combo group compared to 24 patients (80%) in the VAN-alone group (P = 0.021). In a multivariable model, the Combo treatment had a higher likelihood of achieving microbiological eradication (adjusted odds ratio, 11.24; 95% confidence interval, 1.7 to 144.3; P = 0.01). In patients with infective endocarditis (n = 22), 11/11 (100%) who received Combo therapy achieved microbiological eradication compared to 9/11 (81.8%) treated with VAN alone, but the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.20). Patients with MRSA bacteremia who received Combo therapy were more likely to experience microbiological eradication of MRSA than patients who received VAN alone.
PMCID: PMC3910806  PMID: 24145519
3.  Pharmacists’ communication with Spanish-speaking patients: a review of the literature to establish an agenda for future research 
Spanish-speaking people represent more than 12% of the total population in the United States and are poised to become the largest minority group in the U.S. by 2015. Although researchers have studied pharmacist-patient communication for approximately 30 years, little emphasis has been placed on the interactions between pharmacists and Spanish-speaking patients.
The objectives of this review are 1) to describe empirical studies on Spanish-speaking patient/pharmacist communication examined relative to patient factors, pharmacist factors, and environmental factors that may influence Spanish-speaking patient/pharmacist communication and 2) to integrate medical and nursing literature to generate a research agenda for future study in this area.
We compiled articles from a systematic review of (1) CINAHL, International Pharmacy Abstracts, Pub Med, and Web of Knowledge databases using “Hispanic limited English proficiency”, “Latino limited English proficiency”, “language-assistance services”, “Spanish-speaking patients”, “Latino patients”, “Spanish-speaking health literacy”, “pharmacy health literacy”, “patient-provider communication”, “pharmacy language barriers”, (2) bibliographies of selected articles.
This search generated 1,174 articles, 7 of which met the inclusion criteria. We categorized the results into four topic areas: “Spanish-speaking patient literacy,” “pharmacists knowledge of/proficiency in the Spanish language,” “pharmacy resources to overcome language barriers,” and “pharmacists’ attitudes towards communicating with Spanish-speaking patients.”
These studies provide a macroscopic look at the linguistic services offered in pharmacies, gaps in services, and their subsequent impact on pharmacists and patients. Future research should investigate Spanish-speaking patients’ literacy issues, pharmacy staff language skills, factors that influence pharmacists’ counseling, and language assistance programs for pharmacists and patients. Furthermore, these studies need to be conducted in large Hispanic/Latino populated areas where positive service models are likely to be present. Addressing these issues will provide pharmacists and pharmacies with information to overcome language barriers and provide Spanish-speaking patients with quality care.
PMCID: PMC2875142  PMID: 19524859
Hispanic limited English proficiency; language-assistance services; Spanish-speaking patients; patient-provider communication; pharmacy language barriers

Results 1-3 (3)