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Showing posts from February, 2019

Oral or intravenous antibiotics for bone and heart valve infections?

Antibiotics are a miracle, killing the bacteria that might otherwise kill us. They are also dangerous, with side effects that can be fatal as well as merely annoying. They kill good bacteria as well as bad ones, disturbing the delicate balance of the bacterial communities with which we share our bodies.

Intravenous antibiotics can work quickly to forestall life threatening blood stream infections and can reach high levels in the blood and penetrate structures such as bone, eventually eradicating infections that might hide out and cause chronic infection. Oral antibiotics, however, are also very powerful and are sometimes absorbed so well that they are just as effective as intravenous (IV) ones.

Whether to use oral or IV antibiotics is based on several considerations, but we usually believe that infections on the heart valves or in the bone or joint or artificial joints require IV antibiotics. Long term treatment with IV antibiotics can be logistically difficult. Consider these two pret…