My elderly patient with UTI and E. coli bacteremia is ready to be switched from IV to oral antibiotic. Can I consider an oral beta-lactam in place of a fluoroquinolone or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole to complete an adequate course of antibiotic therapy at home.

Although oral fluoroquinolones (FQs) and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) have been routinely recommended as step-down therapy for treatment of Enterobacterales bacteremia owing to their high bioavailability, increasing evidence suggests that beta-lactam (BL) antibiotics (particularly those with high bioavailability, such as cephalexin) are as effective without the attendant adverse risks associated with FQs—with increasing FDA warnings—and TMP-SMX.1,2

In the largest study to date involving a retrospective review of over 4,000 cases of Enterobacterales UTI-associated bacteremia (eg, E. coli, Proteus spp., Klebsiella spp) in Veterans Affairs hospitals, no significant difference in the main outcome (composite of 30-day all cause mortality or 30-day recurrent bacteremia) was found between the oral beta-lactam and FQ/TMP-SMX groups (4.4% vs 3.0%, respectively); additionally, when examined separately, no significant difference in mortality (3.0% vs 2.6%) or recurrent bacteremia (1.5% vs 0.4%) was found. 1

A meta-analysis of 8 retrospective studies (2019) also failed to find a significant difference in mortality or recurrent bacteremia between BLs and FQs or TMP-SMX groups; it did find a higher odds of any recurrent infection, however (5.5% vs 2.0% (O.R. 2.06, 1.18-3.61). 2

Before selecting an antibiotic, however, it’s important to recall that not all oral BLs are  created equal, with some having better bioavailability than others.   More specifically, it may not be common knowledge that cephalexin (“Keflex”), a commonly prescribed and inexpensive cephalosporin with great safety profile, has 90-100% bioavailability, rivaling those of FQs or TMP-SMX.

 Of interest, in a subset of patients who received cephalexin as step-down therapy (n=245) in the VA study above, the outcomes were nearly identical to those who received FQ or TMP-SMX, with a 30-d recurrent bacteremia of 0% and a 30-day mortality of 2% (vs 0.4% and 2.5% for ciprofloxacin and 1.0% and 2.4% for TMP-STX, respectively). Of note nearly one-half of the cephalexin group received a higher dose of 500 mg 4x/day, with the rest receiving less frequent dosing. 

These findings makes one wonder whether suboptimal oral BL dosing may not have contributed to the discrepant results from earlier studies suggesting the superiority of FQs or TMP-SMX over oral BLs as step-down therapy. 1,2

 

Bonus Pearl: Did you know that cephalexin may be given up to 4 gm/day in 4 divided doses with 90% of the drug excreted unchanged in the urine? 3

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References

  1. Sutton JD, Stevens VW, Chang NCN, Khader K, et al. Oral beta-lactam antibiotics vs fluoroquinolones or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole for definite treatment of Enterobacterales bacteremia from a urine source. JAMA Network Open 2020;3 (10):e20220166. Oral β-Lactam Antibiotics vs Fluoroquinolones or Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole for Definitive Treatment of Enterobacterales Bacteremia From a Urine Source – PubMed (nih.gov)
  2. Punjabi C, Tien V, Meng L, et al. Oral fluoroquinolone or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole vs beta-lactams as step-down therapy for Enterobacteriaceae bacteremia: systematic review and meta-analysis. Open Forum Infect Dis 2019;6:ofz364 doi:10.1.1093/ofid/ofz364   https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31412127/
  3. Herman TF, Hasmi MF. Cephalexin. StatPearls (internet). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549780/ Accessed July 10, 2022.

Disclosures: The listed questions and answers are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of Mercy Hospital-St. Louis, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Catalyst, Harvard University, their affiliate academic healthcare centers, or its contributors. Although every effort has been made to provide accurate information, the author is far from being perfect. The reader is urged to verify the content of the material with other sources as deemed appropriate and exercise clinical judgment in the interpretation and application of the information provided herein. No responsibility for an adverse outcome or guarantees for a favorable clinical result is assumed by the author. Thank you!

My elderly patient with UTI and E. coli bacteremia is ready to be switched from IV to oral antibiotic. Can I consider an oral beta-lactam in place of a fluoroquinolone or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole to complete an adequate course of antibiotic therapy at home.

Is cefepime an acceptable alternative to carbapenems in the treatment of cefepime susceptible extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) Gram-negatives?

Irrespective of in-vitro susceptibility results, cefepime should be avoided in the treatment of serious ESBL infections associated with bacteremia, pneumonia, intraabdominal infection, endocarditis, bone/joint infection or whenever a high bacterial inoculum is suspected. Cefepime should be considered only in non-severe infections (eg, uncomplicated urinary tract infection) when the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) is 2 mg/L or less (1).

 

To date, clinical studies comparing cefepime vs carbapenem have been small and/or retrospective, often with conflicting results (1). A 2016 propensity score-matched study of patients with ESBL bacteremia receiving cefepime therapy followed by carbapenem therapy vs carbapenem for the entire treatment duration found higher 14 day mortality in the cefepime group (41% vs 20% in the carbapenem group) (2).  Of note, 2 of the patients receiving cefepime who died were infected with an ESBL organism with MIC of 1 mcg/mL. 

 

Another study found cefepime to be inferior to carbapenem therapy in ESBL bacteremic patients with better outcome when cefepime MIC was 1 ug/m or less (3).

 

Two studies involving patients with ESBL UTIs found no significant difference between cefepime and carbapenem in clinical and microbiological response or in-hospital mortality, while another UTI study with a high rate of septic shock (33%) found that cefepime was inferior to carbapenem in clinical and microbiological response (2).

 

The diminished efficacy of cefepime for the treatment of ESBL infections may be related to its “inoculum effect” ie, marked increase in MIC with increased inoculum size compared to that used in standard laboratory susceptibility testing (1,4).   

 

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References

  1. Karaiskos I, Giamarellou H. Carbapenem-sparing strategies for ESBL producers: when and how. Antibiotics 2020;9,61. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32033322/
  2. Wang R, Cosgrove S, Tschudin-Sutter S, et al. Cefepime therapy for cefepime-susceptible extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enerobacteriaceae bacteremia. Open Forum Infect Dis 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4942761/
  3. Lee NY, Lee CC, Huang WH, et al. Cefepime therapy for monomicrobial bacteremia caused by cefepime-susceptible extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae: MIC matters. Clin Infect Dis 203;56:488-95. https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/56/4/488/351224
  4. Smith KP, Kirby JE. The inoculum effect in the era of multidrug resistance:minor differences in inoculum have dramatic effect on MIC determination. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2018;62:e00433-18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6105823/

Disclosures: The listed questions and answers are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Catalyst, Harvard University, its affiliate academic healthcare centers, or its contributors. Although every effort has been made to provide accurate information, the author is far from being perfect. The reader is urged to verify the content of the material with other sources as deemed appropriate and exercise clinical judgment in the interpretation and application of the information provided herein. No responsibility for an adverse outcome or guarantees for a favorable clinical result is assumed by the author. Thank you!

Is cefepime an acceptable alternative to carbapenems in the treatment of cefepime susceptible extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) Gram-negatives?

When should I consider treating my hospitalized patients with asymptomatic bacteruria (ASB)?

The great majority of hospitalized patients with ASB do not need treatment with antibiotics.

In fact, there are only a couple of conditions for which treatment of ASB is indicated:  pregnant women (due to risk of pyelonephritis and low-birth infants/pre-term delivery) and before  GU instrumentation, such as transurethral resection of the prostate or other GU procedures for which mucosal bleeding is anticipated (1).  

So for the great majority of our hospitalized patients, including the elderly, diabetic women, institutionalized residents of long-term facilities, and spinal cord injury patients treatment of ASB is not indicated.  Even in the case of renal transplant patients, supportive evidence for the  use of prophylactic antibiotics in ASB is so far lacking (2).  

The estimated prevalence of ASB varies widely in the population,  with rates of 15-20% among community-dwelling women > 70 yrs of age, and 5-10% for men>65 yrs for community-dwelling men. In long-term care facility residents, 25-50% of women, 15-40% of men, and 100% of those with chronic indwelling catheters have ASB (3).  

So keep these rates in mind before attributing patient’s symptoms to ASB (ie, patient’s presentation may have nothing to do with urine findings).  It’s also worth emphasizing that pyuria accompanying ASB is not an indication for treatment.

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References

1. Nicolle LE, Bradley S, Colgan R, et al. Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria in adults. Clin Infect Dis 2005;40:643-54.  https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/40/5/643/363229

2. Coussement J, Abramowicz D. Should we treat asymptomatic bacteriuria after renal transplantation? Nephrol Dial Transplant 2013;0:1-3. https://academic.oup.com/ndt/article/29/2/260/1913512

3. Nicolle LE. Asymptomatic bacteriuria in older adults. Geriatrics & Aging 2003;6:24-28. https://www.healthplexus.net/files/content/2003/October/0609bacteriuria.pdf

 

Disclosures: The listed questions and answers are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of Mercy Hospital-St. Louis or its affiliate healthcare centers, Mass General Hospital, Harvard Medical School or its affiliated institutions. Although every effort has been made to provide accurate information, the author is far from being perfect. The reader is urged to verify the content of the material with other sources as deemed appropriate and exercise clinical judgment in the interpretation and application of the information provided herein. No responsibility for an adverse outcome or guarantees for a favorable clinical result is assumed by the author. Thank you!

When should I consider treating my hospitalized patients with asymptomatic bacteruria (ASB)?