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Clin Infect Dis. 1997 Mar;24(3):457-67.

Oral administration of antibiotics: a rational alternative to the parenteral route.

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Department of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.


Much early experience with antibiotic therapy involved oral administration of sulfonamides, penicillins, tetracyclines, and chloramphenicol. Newer acid-labile, less-soluble agents created the need for intravenous (i.v.) administration, and i.v. technology (hyporeactive catheter polymers, infusion pumps, etc.) improved to where i.v. administration became normative for the treatment of serious infections. Recently, this preference is being reconsidered in light of agents that are highly effective orally, growing appreciation that i.v. treatment has serious complications, and economic pressures to provide the best care at the lowest cost. This article presents a brief history of administration routes and reviews the rationale for considering oral treatment for serious infections, including consideration of pharmacokinetics and minimum inhibitory concentrations. Published reports supporting the efficacy of orally administered antibiotics either as sole treatment or following an initial parenteral course are reviewed in detail, and examples of programs that educate physicians about the rationale, acceptibility, and benefits of oral administration are given.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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