PLoS Medicine: An Unsupported Preference for Intravenous Antibiotics.

‘Belief in the superiority of intravenous antibiotics is widespread among health professionals and patients, but it is not supported by good evidence… reasons for the belief in the strength of intravenous therapy also need to be understood and addressed…’

These are some of the key points in an essay in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine.

The authors point out that ‘Intravenous therapy may result in harmful complications such as phlebitis, extravasation injury, thrombosis’. As a personal comment, in low resource settings there is also risk of HIV and hepatitis B due to re-use (inadvertent or deliberate) of needles. This is perhaps especially likely with intramuscular injections (which are not described in the essay).

As the authors conclude: ‘Clarity regarding the harms and benefits of intravenous antibiotics is needed. There is potential to change global clinical practice for the better, reducing health care costs and minimizing harm to patients.’

Citation: Li HK, Agweyu A, English M, Bejon P (2015) An Unsupported Preference for Intravenous Antibiotics. PLoS Med 12(5): e1001825. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001825

Best wishes, Neil

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