National Ciprofloxacin Shortage: What to Do? By David A. Talan, MD ...
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - National Ciprofloxacin Shortage: What to Do? By David A. Talan, MD ...
National Ciprofloxacin Shortage: What to Do?
By David A. Talan, MD
The recently announced nationwide shortage of ciprofloxacin creates a dilemma for
physicians. Ciprofloxacin is an inexpensive (full-course at Walmart: $4) fluoroquinolone
and mainstay UTI treatment. While alternatives exist, some choices are better than
others considering emerging E. coli resistance and short-course and cost options.
E. coli causes most UTIs, so recent resistance changes are worth knowing.
Twenty percent to 50 percent of community E. coli isolates are resistant to
trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX). Clinical failure rates with TMP/SMX are 50
percent to 65 percent if the isolate is resistant and less than 10 percent if susceptible.
In vitro resistance matters, a lot for pyelonephritis and less for cystitis.
Fluoroquinolone resistance has increased among community E. coli isolates, a big
problem outside the United States. U.S. fluoroquinolone resistance rates have been
generally under five percent in healthy women, but are now higher in some places. But
warning: Hospital ED and outpatient antibiograms may indicate higher resistance rates
related to higher risk for patients who have culture and sensitivity sent.
More frightening is emergence outside this country of extended-spectrum beta-
lactamase-producing E. coli infections, resistant to penicillins and cephalosporins and
sometimes fluoroquinolones. Yikes! For these pyelonephritis infections, the only option
is daily IM/IV ertapenem. Because most antibiotics are displaying resistance problems,
routine culture and sensitivity is recommended.
For cystitis, nitrofurantoin (50 mg qid; Macrobid 100 mg bid) has retained good
activity, and is effective as a five-day course. Fosfomycin is available as a single 3 g
dose sachet, but it’s been associated with lower cure rates. A seven-day course is
recommended for cephalosporins (e.g., cephalexin 500 mg qid). Levofloxacin (250 mg q
day) and TMP/SMX (DS bid), resistance issues noted, can be given as three-day
For pyelonephritis, there’s a new levofloxacin five-day option (750 mg q day),
but charges range from $60 to $180 a course. Other options include cephalosporins for
14 days. Neither nitrofurantoin nor fosfomycin can be used to treat pyelonephritis, and
most women with uncomplicated pyelonephritis can be treated as outpatients. To
hedge against the isolate resistance to oral regimens and delayed prescription filling, I
recommend either long-acting ertapenem (1 g IV/IM) or ceftriaxone (1 g IV/IM) and
levofloxacin (750 mg PO or IV) before discharge. This practice will generally keep your
patients out of trouble until the culture and sensitivity results return.
Dr. Talan is a professor of medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine and the
chairman of emergency medicine and faculty in infectious diseases at Olive
View-UCLA Medical Center.
Learn more about infectious
diseases and other emergency
medicine topics at the 23rd
Olive View-UCLA EMCME Advances
in Emergency Medicine July 8-11 in
San Diego; firstname.lastname@example.org.