Public Release: 

NIH-funded researchers find off-patent antibiotics effectively combat MRSA skin infections

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Researchers funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, have found that two common antibiotic treatments work equally well against bacterial skin infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) acquired outside of hospital settings. Known as community-associated MRSA, or CA-MRSA, these skin infections have been reported in athletes, daycare-age children, students, military personnel and prison inmates, among others, and can lead to hospitalization, surgical procedures, bacteria in the blood, and in severe cases, death.

Although MRSA is an increasingly common pathogen and the most common cause of skin infection in the United States, there is no standard treatment approach for CA-MRSA. As CA-MRSA emerged in community settings, there were concerns about how to identify the best treatment options and preserve the effectiveness of last-line drugs. Two older antibiotics that are no longer under patent, clindamycin and TMP-SMX, are recommended to treat CA-MRSA. It was unknown whether one antibiotic was associated with better outcomes in patients.

To answer this question, scientists tested clindamycin and TMP-SMX in adults and children with uncomplicated skin infections for 10 days. Of 466 study participants who received either antibiotic, the cure rate was 89.5 percent for clindamycin and 88.2 percent for TMP-SMX. The side effects of both drugs were comparable. The findings, which appear in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest that uncomplicated skin infectious acquired outside of hospitals can be treated inexpensively and successfully with either drug, according to the researchers.

###

This project is one of multiple clinical trials NIAID began funding in 2007 aimed at identifying ways to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance by reducing and/or optimizing the use of licensed antibacterials. This study is being led by Dr. Henry F. Chambers of the University of California, San Francisco.

ARTICLE: LG Miller et al. Clindamycin versus Co-trimoxazole for Uncomplicated Skin Infections. New England Journal of Medicine DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1403789 (2015).

WHO: NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and Dennis Dixon, M.D., chief of the Bacteriology and Mycology Branch (BMB) in NIAID's Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, are available to comment on this study.

CONTACT: To schedule interviews, please contact Emily Mullin, (301) 402-1663, niaidnews@niaid.nih.gov.

NIAID conducts and supports research--at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide--to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.