June 26, 1995

Early Switch From Intravenous to Oral Cephalosporins in the Treatment of Hospitalized Patients With Community-Acquired Pneumonia

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Louisville (Ky) School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Louisville.

Arch Intern Med. 1995;155(12):1273-1276. doi:10.1001/archinte.1995.00430120050006

Background:  Switch therapy is defined as the early transition from intravenous to oral antibiotics during treatment of infection. This study was designed to evaluate the clinical outcome and length of stay of hospitalized patients with community-acquired pneumonia treated with an early switch from intravenous to oral third-generation cephalosporins.

Methods:  Patients with a new roentgenographic pulmonary infiltrate and at least two symptoms (cough, fever, or leukocytosis) were enrolled in this study and treated with intravenous ceftizoxime sodium (1 g every 12 hours) or ceftriaxone sodium (1 g every 24 hours). Patients were switched to oral cefixime (400 mg every 24 hours) as soon as they met the following criteria: (1) resolution of fever; (2) improvement of cough and respiratory distress; (3) improvement of leukocytosis; and (4) presence of normal gastrointestinal tract absorption.

Results:  Of the 120 patients enrolled, 75 (62%) had clinical data evaluated. Long-term follow-up showed that 74 patients (99%) were cured; one patient required readmission for further intravenous therapy. Mean duration of hospital stay was 4 days.

Conclusions:  This investigation demonstrated that an early switch to oral cefixime may be reasonable in hospitalized patients with community-acquired pneumonia who have already shown a good clinical and laboratory response to therapy with intravenous third-generation cephalosporins. This approach is clinically effective and minimizes hospital stay.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:1273-1276)