Treatment Strategies for Persistent Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteraemia

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What is known and objective: Treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteraemia is a long-standing challenge to health care, often complicated by metastatic infections, treatment failure and mortality. When MRSA bacteraemia persists despite adequate initial treatment, current Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines recommend evaluation and removal of possible sources of infection. In addition, a change in therapy may be considered. The objective of this review was to explore the therapeutic options for the treatment of persistent MRSA bacteraemia. Methods: A literature search of PubMed, MEDLINE and Google Scholar was performed using the following search terms: [methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus OR MRSA] AND [bacteraemia OR bloodstream infection] AND [persistent OR persistence OR refractory OR treatment failure OR salvage] AND treatment. We evaluated relevant, adult, English-language, peer-reviewed studies published between 1985 and May 2018. In vitro and animal studies were considered as supportive of in vivo data. Results and discussion: Randomized, controlled trials are lacking. However, case series and case reports support multiple treatment options including high-dose daptomycin in combination with an antistaphylococcal β-lactam, ceftaroline, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) or fosfomycin; ceftaroline alone or in combination with vancomycin or TMP-SMX; linezolid alone or in combination with a carbapenem, or telavancin. What is new and conclusion: Given the heterogeneity of the data, a preferred regimen has not emerged. Prescribers must take into consideration recent exposure, source control, and available synergy and clinical data. Further comparative trials are needed to establish a preferred regimen and the creation of a universal treatment algorithm.