Although traditionally 7 to 14 days of antibiotic therapy has been recommended for Gram-negative bacteremia, more recent studies suggest that shorter antibiotic treatment courses are as effective as longer treatments for a variety of infections, particuarly those due to Enterobacteriaceae (eg, E. Coli, Klebsiella sp) in patients with low severity illness (1).
A 2019 randomized-controlled study involving primarily patients with bacteremia caused by E. Coli or Klebsiella sp. (~75%) with most cases associated with UTI (~70%) found that 7 days was as effective as 14 days of treatment in hemodynamically stable patients who are afebrile for at least 48 hours without an ongoing focus of infection (1). More specifically, there was no significant difference between the 2 groups in the rates of relapse of bacteremia or mortality at 14 or 28 days.
An accompanying editorial concluded that “7 days of treatment may be sufficient for hospitalized, non-critically ill patients with Gram-negative bacteremia and with signs of early response to treatment” (2). Again, the accent should be on hemodynamically stable patients who respond rapidly to treatment.
These articles reflect a recent overall trend in antibiotic therapy that favors shorter courses of therapy for many common infections, as nicely summarized by a 2016 article (3).
• Community-acquired pneumonia 3-5 days (vs 7-10 days)
• Nosocomial pneumonia 8 days or less (vs 10-15 days)
• Pyelonephritis 5-7 days (vs 10-14 days)
• Intraabdominal infection 4 days (vs 10 days)
• COPD acute exacerbation 5 days or less (vs >6 days)
• Acute bacterial sinusitis 5 days (vs 10 days)
• Cellulitis 5-6 days (vs 10 days)
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1. Yahav D, Franceschini E, Koppel F, et al. Seven versus 14 days of antibiotic therapy for uncomplicated Gram-negative bacteremia: A noninferiority randomized controlled trial. Clin Infect Dis 2019; 69:1091-8. https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/69/7/1091/5237874
2. Daneman D, Fowler RA. Shortening antibiotic treatment durations for bacteremia. Clin Infect Dis 2019;69:1099-1100. https://academic.oup.com/cid/article-abstract/69/7/1099/5237877?redirectedFrom=fulltext
3. Spellberg B. The new antibiotic mantra: “ Shorter is better”. JAMA Intern Med 2016;176:1254-55. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2536180