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Route and duration of antibiotic therapy in acute cellulitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness and harms of antibiotic treatment

Cross, ELA; Jordan, H; Godfrey, R; Onakpoya, IJ; Shears, A; Fidler, K; Peto, TEA; ... Llewelyn, MJ; + view all (2020) Route and duration of antibiotic therapy in acute cellulitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness and harms of antibiotic treatment. Journal of Infection , 81 (4) pp. 521-531. 10.1016/j.jinf.2020.07.030. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Compared with guideline recommendations, antibiotic overuse is common in treating cellulitis. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analyses on antibiotic route and duration of treatment for cellulitis in adults and children. METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE and trial registries from inception to Dec 11, 2019 for interventional and observational studies of antibiotic treatment for cellulitis. Exclusions included case series/reports, pre-septal/orbital cellulitis and non-English language articles. Random-effects meta-analyses were used to produce summary relative risk (RR) estimates for our primary outcome of clinical response. PROSPERO CRD42018100602. RESULTS: We included 47/8423 articles, incorporating data from eleven trials (1855 patients) in two meta-analyses. The overall risk of bias was moderate. Only two trials compared the same antibiotic agent in each group. We found no evidence of difference in clinical response rates for antibiotic route or duration (RR(oral:IV)=1.12, 95%CI 0.98–1.27, I2=32% and RR(shorter:longer)=0.99, 95%CI 0•96–1.03, I2 = 0%, respectively). Findings were consistent in observational studies. Follow-up data beyond 30 days were sparse. CONCLUSIONS: The evidence base for antibiotic treatment decisions in cellulitis is flawed by biased comparisons, short follow-up and lack of data around harms of antibiotic overuse. Future research should focus on developing patient-tailored antibiotic prescribing for cellulitis to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use.

Type: Article
Title: Route and duration of antibiotic therapy in acute cellulitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness and harms of antibiotic treatment
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jinf.2020.07.030
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2020.07.030
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Cellulitis; Erysipelas; Soft tissue Infections; Anti-Bacterial Agents; Duration of Therapy; Administration, Intravenous; Administration, Oral
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106564
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