Objectives: To determine whether adjusting the denominator of the common hospital antibiotic use measurement unit (defined daily doses/100 bed-days) by including age-adjusted comorbidity score (100 bed-days/age-adjusted comorbidity score) would result in more accurate and meaningful assessment of hospital antibiotic use. Methods: The association between the monthly sum of age-adjusted comorbidity and monthly antibiotic use was measured using time-series analysis (January 2008 to June 2012). For the purposes of conducting internal benchmarking, two antibiotic usage datasets were constructed, i.e. 2004-07 (first study period) and 2008-11 (second study period). Monthly antibiotic use was normalized per 100 bed-days and per 100 bed-days/age-adjusted comorbidity score. Results: Results showed that antibiotic use had significant positive relationships with the sum of age-adjusted comorbidity score (P = 0.0004). The results also showed that there was a negative relationship between antibiotic use and (i) alcohol-based hand rub use (P = 0.0370) and (ii) clinical pharmacist activity (P = 0.0031). Normalizing antibiotic use per 100 bed-days contributed to a comparative usage rate of 1.31, i.e. the average antibiotic use during the second period was 31% higher than during the first period. However, normalizing antibiotic use per 100 bed-days per age-adjusted comorbidity score resulted in a comparative usage rate of 0.98, i.e. the average antibiotic use was 2% lower in the second study period. Importantly, the latter comparative usage rate is independent of differences in patient density and case mix characteristics between the two studied populations. Conclusions: The proposed modified antibiotic measure provides an innovative approach to compare variations in antibiotic prescribing while taking account of patient case mix effects.