Less commonly prescribed antibiotic may be better

August 16, 2012

The antibiotic most commonly prescribed to treat bloodstream infections in dialysis patients may not always be the best choice, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

When Staphylococcus aureus bacteria gain access to a patient's bloodstream, the infection then becomes life threatening. Antibiotics can often cure this infection, but without any , more than 80% of patients with are likely to die. But what's the most appropriate antibiotic to use?

Kevin Chan, MD (Fresenius Medical Care North America and Massachusetts General Hospital) and his colleagues compared the effectiveness of various antibiotics at preventing hospitalization and death from bloodstream infection. They reviewed more than 500,000 blood culture results from their database, looking for methicillin-sensitive strains of S. aureus bloodstream infection. They also identified when physicians used or cefazolin to treat these infections. Vancomycin is often perceived as the better antibiotic because it has broad coverage against many strains of bacteria; however, other factors like the antibiotic's killing power and tissue penetration are also important factors in selecting the best treatment.

Among the major findings:

  • 56% of patients remained on vancomycin after blood culture results reported S. aureus bacteria were susceptible to cefazolin, while only 17% were treated with cefazolin.
  • Cefazolin-treated patients experienced a 38% lower rate of hospitalization and death compared with vancomycin-treated patients.
  • Cefazolin-treated patients also had a 48% lower rate of sepsis, which is the most serious form of bloodstream infection.
"I think the data suggest there is an opportunity to improve outcomes for patients through appropriate antibiotic selection," said Dr. Chan.

Explore further: How one strain of MRSA becomes resistant to last-line antibiotic

More information: The article, entitled "Prevalence and Outcomes of Antimicrobial Treatment for Staphylococcus Aureus Bloodstream Infection in Outpatients with End-Stage Renal Disease," will appear online on August 16, 2012, doi: 10.1681/ASN.2012010050

Related Stories

How one strain of MRSA becomes resistant to last-line antibiotic

May 22, 2012
Researchers have uncovered what makes one particular strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) so proficient at picking up resistance genes, such as the one that makes it resistant to vancomycin, the last ...

Researchers closer to the super bug puzzle

November 11, 2011
Infectious diseases specialists from Austin Health are working closely with Microbiologists from the University of Melbourne to understand how Staph is becoming resistant to all antibiotic therapies.

Recommended for you

Sex diseases in US surge to record high

September 26, 2017
Sexually transmitted diseases surged to a record high in the United States last year, with more than two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis nationwide, officials said Tuesday.

Potential Zika vaccine protects against pregnancy transmission and testicular damage

September 26, 2017
For the first time, a collaborative team led by The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has shown that a potential Zika vaccine quickly can protect fetuses against infection as well as protect males against testicular ...

Antibiotics warranted for kids with minor staph infections

September 26, 2017
The overuse of antibiotics has left some doctors questioning whether to give such drugs to children diagnosed with uncomplicated staph infections. Such infections often occur on the skin and look like a pus-filled bug bite.

Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections

September 22, 2017
Group A Streptococcus bacteria cause a variety of illnesses that range from mild nuisances like strep throat to life-threatening conditions including pneumonia, toxic shock syndrome and the flesh-eating disease formally known ...

Ecosystem approach makes urinary tract infection more treatable

September 22, 2017
The biological term 'ecosystem' is not usually associated with urinary tract infections, but this should change according to Wageningen scientists.

Residents: Frontline defenders against antibiotic resistance?

September 22, 2017
Antibiotic resistance continues to grow around the world, with sometimes disastrous results. Some strains of bacteria no longer respond to any currently available antibiotic, making death by infections that were once easily ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.