Oral antibiotics for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) in the primary care setting : incidence of treatment failure and its additional economic impact
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Our investigation sought to identify the incidence of treatment failure and its associated costs in patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) treated in the primary care setting. Thirteen clinics participated in this multi-site, observational study. Clinicians consented patients and collected clinical information, pictures, and wound swabs; isolates were processed in the principal investigator's laboratory. Treatment failure was defined as the occurrence of one or more of the following within 90 days: (1) change in antibiotic therapy, (2) subsequent need for incision and drainage, (3) SSTI at new site, (4) SSTI at same site, (5) emergency department visit, or (6) hospitalization. Cost estimates were obtained from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service's National Average Drug Acquisition Costs (NADAC). Patients were considered to have “moderate or complicated” SSTIs if they had a lesion ≥ 5cm in diameter, diabetes mellitus, or both. Patients not exhibiting these characteristics were classified as having “mild or uncomplicated” infections. Ninety-eight patients were enrolled. Most patients were of Hispanic ethnicity and more than half of all patients had a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30kg/m2. The most common treatment modality was incision and drainage (I&D) plus antibiotics (57%). Treatment failure occurred in 21% of all patients at a mean additional cost of $1,933.71. Patients with moderate or complicated SSTIs who received I&D experienced significantly more treatment failures compared mild or uncomplicated patients who received I&D (36% vs. 10%; p = 0.04). The additional cost of treatment failure in patients with moderate or complicated SSTIs was nearly twice that of patients with mild or uncomplicated SSTIs ($2,093.40 vs. $1,255.02; p = 1.0). Treatment failure occurred sooner, on average, in the moderate or complicated group compared to the mild or uncomplicated group (11.8 days vs. 38.8 days; p = 0.06). Among patients with MRSA SSTIs treated in the primary care setting, the rate of treatment failure is high (21%) and costs are considerable ($1,933.71).