Combo Drugs Not Effective for Blood Stream Infection

Organ dysfunction from severe sepsis not improved with moxifloxacin and meropenem combination

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Patients with severe sepsis, a serious type of blood stream infection, were not found to benefit from a dual antibiotic treatment. Organ failure was not found to improve compared to those taking only one drug.

The combination antibiotic therapy also did not improve longevity in septic patients, though additional studies will be needed. The research focused only on severe sepsis patients with community-acquired pneumonia.

"Go to the hospital if you have a long lasting high fever."

Frank M. Brunkhorst, MD, of Friedrich-Schiller University in Germany, had initially suspected that doubling up on the antibiotic dosing could maximize the benefit for septic patients, potentially improving their outcome as compared to those taking only one drug.

During the randomized clinical trial, 298 patients with severe sepsis or septic shock received antibiotic meropenem (Merrem), while 302 sepsis or septic shock patients were assigned to receive a combination therapy of  meropenem and moxifloxacin (Avelox).

Researches evaluated 551 study participants who were patients in one of 44 German intensive care units between October 2007 and March 2010. All suffered from pneumonia. The antibiotic treatment was recommended for a minimum of seven days and a maximum of 14 days or until ICU discharge or death. 

They found that the dual drug therapy did not offer an improvement in organ failure compared to a single antibiotic treatment. In addition, researchers found that the combo drug did not help sepsis patients survive the initial 28 days or 90 days.

After 28 days, 24 percent of the combo treatment group had died compared to 22 percent in the group that received a single antibiotic. At the 90-day mark, 35 percent taking the dual therapy had died versus 32 percent in the monotherapy group. The difference was not considered statistically significant.

The study was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Review Date: 
May 22, 2012
Last Updated:
August 1, 2012