Doctors making decisions about cellulitis treatment now have evidence-backed guidelines to follow showing that vancomycin is often the best choice. Previously, other antibiotics in the penicillin and cephalosporin families were also frequently prescribed. However, the Henry Ford Hospital has released study results showing that patients on intravenous vancomycin had better outcomes than those on other IV antibiotics.
Data from Henry Ford
The study compared results among a group of 425 patients who were admitted to the hospital with cellulitis over a 3 year period. Their records showed that, on average, patients who received vancomycin stayed one less day in the hospital. From both a cost standpoint and from the viewpoint of patient wellbeing, this is a significant enough difference to make a change in prescribing guidelines.
Additional Reason to Use Vancomycin
Another reason to treat cellulitis with this particular type of antibiotic is that it can knock out even MRSA. Cellulitis can be caused by a number of different bacteria, but methicillin resistant staph is one of them. It is particularly likely to be involved in the severe cases that require hospitalization. So, using an antibiotic that has a high success rate for stopping this aggressive infection as a first course of treatment may save patients from having to undergo multiple rounds of antibiotics. As community acquired MRSA becomes more prevalent, doctors anticipate seeing a continued increase in cases of skin infections caused by this pathogen.
More about Cellulitis
Typically, the skin of a healthy individual keeps bacteria safely sequestered on the outer surface. However, an injury to the skin can allow bacteria to invade the deeper layers of skin and underlying tissues. When this happens, the skin can become inflamed. With a cellulitis infection, redness and swelling are typically accompanied by pain and tenderness. The area may also feel warm to the touch.
Cellulitis treatment for a mild case that is not spreading rapidly can usually be treated with oral antibiotics. However, medical conditions such as diabetes and other diseases that interfere with the immune system are risk factors that can increase the likelihood of cellulitis and the severity of the condition. For these patients, antibiotics may need to be administered intravenously. In extreme cases, surgery may drain the infected area or remove infected tissue.
It is possible for immune-compromised patients to show signs of cellulitis when the pathogen is actually fungus instead of bacteria. This would require a different course of drugs to clear the condition. A consultation with a dermatologist and testing may be required to determine the exact cause of the infection.