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Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 1994 Feb;18(2):105-9.

Enteric eradication of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium with oral bacitracin.

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Rutgers College of Pharmacy, Piscataway, New Jersey.


The emergence of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREF) has produced a therapeutic dilemma. The colonization of the intestinal tract with VREF may predispose patients to infections by this organism and may contribute to its nosocomial spread. It is reasonable to attempt to eradicate VREF from colonized patients. The optimal regimen, however, is unknown and this study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of oral regimens of vancomycin and bacitracin for the elimination of VREF from the enteric tract. Enterococcal isolates were tested for susceptibilities to vancomycin, bacitracin, and ampicillin with median minimum inhibitory concentrations of > 512 micrograms/ml, 10 units/ml, and 128 micrograms/ml, respectively. All patients were given an initial trial of oral vancomycin 125 mg every 6 h for 10 days. Those who failed oral vancomycin were then given oral bacitracin 25,000 units every 6 h for 10 days due to its favorable in vitro activity. VREF was eradicated from the stools of 42% of patients (eight of 19) receiving oral vancomycin as compared with all eight patients receiving oral bacitracin (P < 0.01). The organism recurred in two bacitracin patients (25%) 8 and 20 days after completion of therapy. Whether prior vancomycin therapy predisposed patients to colonization by VREF was also examined. Ten (53%) of 19 patients had received prior vancomycin therapy before isolation of VREF from the stool. Our data suggest that oral bacitracin may be an effective alternative to commercially available oral vancomycin for the eradication of VREF from the enteric tract.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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