New Antibiotic Could Change Skin Infection Treatment

Bacterial skin infection treatment with single dose of oritavancin examined in clinical trial

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Treatment with antibiotics often requires using the medications multiple times a day for several days. New research has revealed that one antibiotic, which is still under development, might require only one dose.

This new study explored the effectiveness of a new antibiotic medication for bacterial skin infections called oritavancin, which would be given in a single dose.

The study found that oritavancin was as effective as a traditional treatment that requires multiple doses over the course of several days.

"Take medications as they are prescribed by your doctor."

According to the authors of this new study, led by G. Ralph Corey, MD, of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, antibiotic treatment of certain skin infections can be costly and often requires twice-daily antibiotic medication doses for over a week.

Dr. Corey and team aimed to examine the effectiveness of a new medication, oritavancin, which is only given in one dose.

To do so, these researchers looked at 954 adult patients with bacterial skin and skin-structure infections, which can include abscesses, infected wounds and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an antibiotic-resistant skin infection.

Of these patients, 475 received one single 1200 milligram (mg) dose of oritavancin, delivered intravenously (injected). For the following seven to 10 days, this group of patients received an intravenous placebo (an inactive replacement medication).

The remaining 479 patients received vancomycin (brand name Vancocin), a traditional antibiotic treatment option. This medication was given in doses of 1 gram twice a day for seven to 10 days.

Dr. Corey and team then compared the effectiveness of the two treatments and found they had similar outcomes.

Of the oritavancin group, 82.3 percent had no further spreading of the infection or a reduction in size of the skin lesion, no fever and no need for additional antibiotic medication. The same was true for 78.9 percent of the vancomycin group.

The percentage of patients who were deemed cured by their doctors was similar in both groups — 79.6 percent of the oritavancin patients and 80.0 percent of the vancomycin patients.

In looking at skin lesion size, 86.9 percent of the oritavancin patients saw at least a 20 percent reduction in size, compared with 82.9 percent of the vancomycin patients.

Both groups experienced similar side effects. However, the oritavancin group reported more nausea — 11.0 percent of oritavancin patients versus 8.9 percent of vancomycin patients.

"A single-dose treatment for acute bacterial skin and skin-structure infections that results in an early and sustained clinical response could have the potential to reduce the complications associated with multiple intravenous administrations in patients with these infections, improve adherence to treatment, improve quality of life, and reduce the utilization of health care resources," wrote Dr. Corey and team.

“This new antibiotic may find its place as an option in the treatment of bacterial skin infections, but cost and the need to be given intravenously may limit its utilization," Dr. David Winter, the Chief Clinical Officer, President and Chairman of the Board of HealthTexas Provider Network (HTPN), a division of Baylor Health Care System, told dailyRx News.

"Most skin infections today are adequately treated with pills over several days. Nonetheless, for troublesome or resistant infections, new antibiotics are always welcome," Dr. Winter said.

This study was published June 5 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Further research is needed to confirm these findings, especially in regards to more long-term effects of these medications. Oritavancin is not currently available to US patients.

Funding for this study was provided by The Medicines Company, a pharmaceutical organization that owns oritavancin. Dr. Corey serves as a paid consultant to The Medicines Company, who also designed the study.

Review Date: 
June 2, 2014
Last Updated:
June 5, 2014