Subcutaneously administered antibiotics
Background: Subcutaneous (SC) administration of antibiotics represents an attractive alternative to the intravenous (IV) route.
Methods: We performed a systematic electronic search of PubMed and the Cochrane Library for all articles published prior to April 2022, using the key terms and MeSH terms ‘subcutaneous’, ‘antibiotic’ and the international non-proprietary name of antibiotics.
Results: A total of 30 studies were selected including data on the efficacy and tolerability of antibiotics, and seven studies that were conducted in healthy subjects, for relevant information regarding the safety and tolerability of antibiotics. Comparative studies have shown that efficacy is similar for the SC and IV routes for ceftriaxone, teicoplanin and ertapenem. The SC use of other antibiotics such as ampicillin, ceftazidime, cefepime, piperacillin/tazobactam, metronidazole and fosfomycin has also been described. These results have largely been corroborated by pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic analyses, especially for time-dependent antibiotics. Complications of SC treatment are rarely severe, with no reports of bacteraemia or other invasive infection related to this route of administration. Therapeutic drug monitoring has been proposed to adapt the dose and avoid toxicity.
Discussion: The rationale for using SC administration of ceftriaxone, ertapenem and teicoplanin is strong in patients with non-severe infections. It is already commonly practised in some countries, particularly in France. Other antibiotics could be administered subcutaneously, but further studies are needed to validate their use in clinical practice. Further research is needed to safely generalize and optimize this route of administration whenever possible. This would reduce the risk of catheter-related infections and their complications, together with the length of hospital stay.
Jumpertz M, Guilhaumou R, Million M, Parola P, Lagier JC, Brouqui P, Cassir N. Subcutaneously administered antibiotics: a review. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2022 Nov 14:dkac383. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkac383. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36374566.