Conference Coverage

For Gram-negative bacteremias, 7 days of antibiotics is enough



– Seven days of antibiotic therapy was just as effective as 14 days for patients with Gram-negative bacteremias.

The shorter course was associated with similar cure rates and a faster return to normal activities, Dafna Yahav, MD, said at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases annual congress.

Dr. Dafna Yahav of Rabin Medical Center, Petah-Tikvam Israel Michele G. Sullivan/MDedge News

Dr. Dafna Yahav

“In patients hospitalized with Gram-negative bacteremia and sepsis, a course of 7 antibiotic days was not inferior to 14 days, and resulted in a more rapid return to baseline activity, “ said Dr. Yahav of the Rabin Medical Center, Petah Tikva, Israel. “This could lead to a change in accepted management algorithms and shortened antibiotic therapy. Potentially, though we did not show this in our trial, it may lead to reduced cost, reduced development of resistance, and fewer adverse events.”

During the past few years, a new dogma has emerged in antibiotic treatment paradigms, she said: Shorter is better. Brad Spellberg, MD, described this concept in his 2016 editorial in JAMA Internal Medicine, “The new antibiotic mantra” (Sep 1;176[9]:1254-5).

In it, Dr. Spellberg, of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, addressed the long-held view that a full 10- or 14-day course of antibiotics was necessary to decrease the risk of creating a resistant strain, even if clinical symptoms were long resolved.

However, he noted, there is little evidence supporting the idea that longer courses suppress the rise of resistance – and, in fact, some data support the opposite.

“To the contrary, specifically for pneumonia, studies have shown that longer courses of therapy result in more emergence of antibiotic resistance, which is consistent with everything we know about natural selection, the driver of antibiotic resistance,” he noted. “In only a few types of infections does resistance emerge at the site of infection; rather, resistance typically emerges off target, among colonizing flora away from the site of infection. Thus, all that is achieved by treating an infection with antibiotics for longer than the patient has symptoms is increased selective pressure driving antibiotic resistance among our colonizing microbial flora.”


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