Infants with bacteremia caused by group B streptococcus (GBS) who were treated with intravenous antimicrobial therapy for 8 days or less had similarly successful outcomes, compared with those treated longer, based on data from 775 infants.
Current guidelines recommend intravenous antibiotics for a prolonged period of 10 days for infants (defined as 7-90 days old) with uncomplicated, late-onset GBS bacteremia, “however, no studies have compared outcomes among infants who receive prolonged versus shortened durations of IV antibiotic therapy,” wrote Eric R. Coon, MD, of the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and colleagues. In a retrospective study published in, the researchers compared recurrence rates in infants who received prolonged vs. shortened therapy.
The study population included 612 infants with uncomplicated late-onset GBS bacteremia aged 4 months and younger who received prolonged IV therapy and 163 who received shortened therapy (defined as 8 days or less). Demographics were not significantly different between the groups, although infants who received a shortened treatment were more likely to be older, were more often admitted in later years of the study, and more likely to have a concomitant urinary tract infection.
Overall, 17 infants experienced recurrence; 3 in the shortened therapy group (1.8%) and 14 in the prolonged therapy group (2.3%). The average time to recurrence was 25 days.
Of note, 27 infants in the shortened treatment group received oral antibiotics on the day of their hospital discharge, and none of them experienced GBS recurrence, which suggests that “Early transition to oral antibiotic therapy may be appropriate for carefully selected infants with GBS bacteremia,” the researchers wrote.
In the prolonged treatment group, recurrence rates were 4.0% and 1.5%, respectively, for infants discharged with and without a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC), but complications from the catheter may have been misclassified as disease recurrence to cause the difference in rate, as the noncatheter patients had similar recurrence rates to the shortened treatment group, the researchers noted.
“We found striking variation in IV antibiotic treatment duration by hospital and whether patients received prolonged or shortened IV courses; rates of GBS disease recurrence and treatment failure were low,” the researchers said. The top three antibiotics prescribed were ampicillin plus a third-generation cephalosporin (37%), third-generation cephalosporin monotherapy (28%), and third-generation cephalosporin monotherapy plus vancomycin (7%).
The findings were limited by the observational design, potential for misclassification of outcomes, and a lack of data to address the total duration of antibiotic therapy, the researchers noted. However, the results suggest that shorter treatment can be an informed decision considered in appropriate patients.
“Beyond decreased health care costs, shortened IV antibiotic courses provide the advantage of a diminished burden for families, allowing for patients to leave the hospital sooner, making it easier to administer the antibiotic at home, and decreasing the likelihood that they would develop a treatment-related complication,” the researchers said. The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.
SOURCE: Coon E et al. Pediatrics. 2018 Oct 11. .