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Bacitracin

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Injection

Treats babies who have a specific type of pneumonia or infection that produces pus. These infections are caused by a bacteria called Staphylococcus (… Read more

Brand names include: Amerinet Choice Bacitracin, Baciim

Into the eye

Treats infections of your eyelid or cornea (surface of your eye)… Read more

On the skin

Prevents infection of minor cuts, burns, or scrapes… Read more

Brand names include: Antibiotic Ointment, Baciguent

Drug classes About this
Antibacterial, Antibiotic
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Antibiotic therapy for Clostridium difficile‐associated diarrhea in adults

Diarrhea may be a side effect of many commonly used antibiotics, and in some cases may be due to overgrowth of a bacterium called Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) in the colon after other bacteria have been killed. The seriousness of C. difficile‐associated diarrhea (CDAD) can range from being a nuisance, to a life threatening or even fatal disease. The treatment of CDAD is usually cessation of the initiating antibiotic and immediate administration of a different antibiotic. However each of these steps, cessation of the original antibiotic, immediate retreatment, and the choice of a new antibiotic are poorly supported by currently available evidence. Fifteen studies (total 1152 participants) of antibiotic treatment of CDAD were included in this review. Nine different antibiotics were investigated: vancomycin, metronidazole, fusidic acid, nitazoxanide, teicoplanin, rifampin, rifaximin, bacitracin and fidaxomicin (OPT‐80). Most of the studies were compared vancomycin with other antibiotics. Vancomycin was found to be superior to placebo (fake medicine) for improvement of the symptoms of CDAD including resolution of diarrhea. Most of the studies found no statistically significant difference in effectiveness between vancomycin and other antibiotics including metronidazole, fusidic acid, nitazoxanide or rifaximin. Teicoplanin was found to be superior to vancomycin for curing the C. difficile infection. Teicoplanin may be an attractive choice for the treatment of CDAD. However, it is expensive compared to the other antibiotics and is of limited availability. Side effects including surgery and death occurred infrequently in the included studies. There was a total of 18 deaths among 1152 patients in this systematic review. These deaths were attributed to underlying disease rather than CDAD or antibiotic treatment. One study reported a partial colectomy (removal of the diseased part of the colon) after failed CDAD treatment. It is questionable whether mild CDAD needs to be treated. The included studies provide little evidence for antibiotic treatment of severe CDAD as many studies attempted to exclude these patients. Considering the goals of CDAD therapy: improvement of the patient's clinical condition and prevention of spread of C. difficile infection to other patients, one should choose the antibiotic that brings both symptomatic cure and bacteriologic cure. A recommendation to achieve these goals cannot be made because of the small numbers of patients in the included studies and the poor methodological quality of these studies. Over time there have been emerging therapies for the treatment of clostridium difficile such as resins, new biological compounds and probiotics as alternatives to antibiotics. These interventions along with antibiotic therapy for Clostridium difficile‐associated diarrhea need further investigation. 

Effectiveness of Early Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment of Clostridium difficile Infection [Internet]

To conduct a systematic review and synthesize evidence for differences in the accuracy of diagnostic tests, and the effects of interventions to prevent and treat Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in adult patients.

Catheter-related bloodstream infections in intensive care units: a systematic review with meta-analysis

The authors concluded that there was some evidence that interventions other than antimicrobial catheters (such as staff education, multifaceted programmes and performance feedback) could reduce catheter-related bloodstream infections in adult intensive care unit patients. These specified strategies appeared supported by limited evidence from a small number of generally flawed observational studies. A more cautious conclusion may have been more appropriate.

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Summaries for consumers

Antibiotic therapy for Clostridium difficile‐associated diarrhea in adults

Diarrhea may be a side effect of many commonly used antibiotics, and in some cases may be due to overgrowth of a bacterium called Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) in the colon after other bacteria have been killed. The seriousness of C. difficile‐associated diarrhea (CDAD) can range from being a nuisance, to a life threatening or even fatal disease. The treatment of CDAD is usually cessation of the initiating antibiotic and immediate administration of a different antibiotic. However each of these steps, cessation of the original antibiotic, immediate retreatment, and the choice of a new antibiotic are poorly supported by currently available evidence. Fifteen studies (total 1152 participants) of antibiotic treatment of CDAD were included in this review. Nine different antibiotics were investigated: vancomycin, metronidazole, fusidic acid, nitazoxanide, teicoplanin, rifampin, rifaximin, bacitracin and fidaxomicin (OPT‐80). Most of the studies were compared vancomycin with other antibiotics. Vancomycin was found to be superior to placebo (fake medicine) for improvement of the symptoms of CDAD including resolution of diarrhea. Most of the studies found no statistically significant difference in effectiveness between vancomycin and other antibiotics including metronidazole, fusidic acid, nitazoxanide or rifaximin. Teicoplanin was found to be superior to vancomycin for curing the C. difficile infection. Teicoplanin may be an attractive choice for the treatment of CDAD. However, it is expensive compared to the other antibiotics and is of limited availability. Side effects including surgery and death occurred infrequently in the included studies. There was a total of 18 deaths among 1152 patients in this systematic review. These deaths were attributed to underlying disease rather than CDAD or antibiotic treatment. One study reported a partial colectomy (removal of the diseased part of the colon) after failed CDAD treatment. It is questionable whether mild CDAD needs to be treated. The included studies provide little evidence for antibiotic treatment of severe CDAD as many studies attempted to exclude these patients. Considering the goals of CDAD therapy: improvement of the patient's clinical condition and prevention of spread of C. difficile infection to other patients, one should choose the antibiotic that brings both symptomatic cure and bacteriologic cure. A recommendation to achieve these goals cannot be made because of the small numbers of patients in the included studies and the poor methodological quality of these studies. Over time there have been emerging therapies for the treatment of clostridium difficile such as resins, new biological compounds and probiotics as alternatives to antibiotics. These interventions along with antibiotic therapy for Clostridium difficile‐associated diarrhea need further investigation. 

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