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Open Forum Infect Dis. 2018 Aug 7;5(9):ofy194. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofy194. eCollection 2018 Sep.

Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy Among People Who Inject Drugs: A Review of the Literature.

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Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.


Hospitalizations for people who inject drugs (PWID) with infectious complications requiring prolonged antibiotic therapy are increasing in the context of the opioid epidemic. Although outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) is routinely offered to patients without a history of injection drug use (IDU), PWID are often excluded from consideration of OPAT. To better assess the evidence base for the safety and effectiveness of OPAT for PWID, we conducted a review of the published literature. Results suggest that OPAT may be safe and effective for PWID, with rates of OPAT completion, mortality, and catheter-related complications comparable to rates among patients without a history of IDU. Rates of hospital readmissions may be higher among PWID, but instances of misuse of the venous catheter were rarely reported. More research is needed to study the safety and effectiveness of OPAT among PWID, as well as studying the combination of OPAT and addiction treatment.


injection drug use; outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy; people who inject drugs

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