JAN 08, 2024 9:40 AM PST

Transitioning from IV to PO antibiotics (and how it's NOT being done properly right now)

WRITTEN BY: Greta Anne

A recent cohort study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association delved into managing gram-negative bloodstream infections (GN-BSIs) across 24 hospitals in the United States, shedding light on the transition from intravenous (IV) to oral antibiotics. GN-BSIs pose a significant health challenge, contributing substantially to morbidity and mortality in hospitalized patients. With the prevalence of drug-resistant organisms and the adverse effects of prolonged IV antibiotic use, understanding the nuances of transitioning to oral therapy is crucial.


The study had 4581 episodes of GN-BSI, revealing intriguing patterns in the transition from IV to oral antibiotics. Astonishingly, only 43.0% of patients made this transition by day 7, indicating a substantial gap in optimizing treatment strategies. 

The study highlighted key differences between patients on IV therapy and those who transitioned to oral antibiotics. Patients on IV therapy tended to have more severe illness and comorbidities and were more likely to be immunosuppressed. They also exhibited higher rates of conditions like myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Notably, those who transitioned to oral therapy demonstrated a significant advantage in achieving clinical stability within five days.

A surprising aspect of the study was the considerable variability in transitioning patients from IV to oral therapy across different hospitals. Rates ranged from 25.8% to 65.9%, indicating a lack of standardized practices. This demonstrates the need for uniform guidelines to streamline and guide the transition process.

Patients who transitioned to oral therapy experienced a significantly shorter antibiotic treatment duration than those on IV therapy. The median duration for the oral group was 11 days, while the IV group had a median duration of 13 days. This finding supports the idea that transitioning to oral antibiotics can be clinically effective and contribute to reducing the overall duration of antibiotic therapy.

The study underscores the variability and potential underutilization of transitioning from IV to oral antibiotics to manage GN-BSIs. The insights provided by this study offer valuable considerations for antibiotic stewardship programs, encouraging early and more frequent transitions to optimize patient care and reduce the burden of prolonged IV antibiotic use. 

Sources: Journal of the American Medical Association

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Greta is currently a writer at Labroots and a 3rd year Doctor of Pharmacy student, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. Innovation is her passion, especially when it comes to pharma, entrepreneurship, science, and art. She is hoping to pursue a career in pharma while also fostering her creative initiatives.
You May Also Like
Loading Comments...