3 things to know about oral vs. intravenous antibiotic treatment for bone & joint infections

Written by Shayna Korol | February 06, 2019 | Print  |

Oral antibiotic therapy is noninferior to intravenous antibiotic therapy for bone and joint infection, according to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The study authors evaluated data from 1,015 patients who were treated for bone or joint infections at 26 U.K. centers. Within seven days after surgery or the start of antibiotic treatment, participants were randomly assigned to receive either intravenous or oral antibiotics to complete the first six weeks of therapy. Follow-ups on oral antibiotics were permitted for both groups.

Three things to know:

1. Treatment failure occurred in 14.6 percent of intravenous group participants and 13.2 percent of oral group participants.

2. The intention-to-treat analysis showed a difference in the risk of definitive treatment failure between the oral and intravenous group of −1.4 percentage points, indicating noninferiority.

3. Catheter complications were more common in the intravenous group: 9.4 percent of intravenous group participants suffered catheter complications compared to 1 percent of oral group participants.

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