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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2012 Jun;18(6):582-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2011.03643.x. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Clindamycin vs. first-generation cephalosporins for acute osteoarticular infections of childhood--a prospective quasi-randomized controlled trial.

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Children's Hospital, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


No sufficiently powered trial has examined two antimicrobials in acute osteoarticular infections of childhood. We conducted a prospective, multicentre, quasi-randomized trial in Finland, comparing clindamycin with first-generation cephalosporins. The age of patients ranged between 3 months and 15 years, and all cases were culture-positive. We assigned antibiotic treatment intravenously for the first 2-4 days, and continued oral treatment with clindamycin 40 mg/kg/24 h or first-generation cephalosporin 150 mg/kg/24 h in four doses. Surgery was kept to a minimum. Subsiding symptoms and signs and normalization of C-reactive protein (CRP) level were preconditions for the discontinuation of antimicrobials. The main outcome was full recovery without further antimicrobials because of an osteoarticular indication during 12 months after therapy. The intention-to-treat analysis comprised 252 children, 169 of whom were analysed per-protocol: 82 cases of osteomyelitis, 80 of septic arthritis, and seven of osteomyelitis-arthritis. Staphylococcus aureus strains (all methicillin-sensitive) caused 84% of the cases. Except for one non-serious sequela during convalescence in both groups, and two late infections caused by dissimilar agents in one child, all patients recovered. The entire courses (medians) of clindamycin and cephalosporin lasted for 23 and 24 days, respectively. CRP normalized in both groups in 9 days. The patients were discharged, on average, on day 10. Loose stools were reported less often (1%) in the clindamycin group than in the cephalosporin group (7%), but two clindamycin recipients developed rash. Clindamycin or a first-generation cephalosporin, administered mostly orally, perform equally well in childhood osteoarticular infections, provided that high doses and administration four times daily are used. As most methicillin-resistant staphylococci remain clindamycin-sensitive, clindamycin remains an option instead of costly alternatives.

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