A simple and more cost-effective antibiotic regimen for perforated appendicitis.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2005.12.054


OBJECTIVE: Appendicitis is the most common abdominal emergency in children. When perforation is encountered, postoperative management is grounded upon the use of intravenous antibiotics. The 3-drug regimen of ampicillin, gentamicin, and clindamycin has long been the accepted standard by pediatric surgeons. Although effective and seemingly inexpensive, this regimen produces a cumbersome dosing schedule, which has inspired the search for a simpler regimen that does not compromise efficacy or expense. To this end, we have introduced a 2-drug regimen of ceftriaxone and Flagyl (Pharmacia Corporation, Chicago, Ill) with once-a-day dosing.

METHODS: A retrospective review was conducted of the most recent 250 patients treated at our institution with perforated appendicitis. Patients treated since the implementation of this 2-drug regimen were compared with the recent historical cohort treated with triple antibiotic coverage. Parameters analyzed between the 2 groups included temperature curves for the first 5 postoperative days, abscess rate, length of hospitalization, length of intravenous antibiotic treatment, and medication charges.

RESULTS: The 2-drug regimen was used in 57 patients (group 1) compared with 193 patients treated with triple antibiotic coverage (group 2). Maximum recorded temperature between the 2 groups was similar upon admission, but the mean maximum temperature in group 1 became significantly lower than group 2 from postoperative day 1 onward (P < .001). Postoperatively, an abscess developed in 8.8% of group 1 compared with 14.2% of group 2, which was not significantly different (P = .37). Mean length of stay was 6.8 days in group 1 and 7.8 days in group 2 (P = .03). Medication charges to the patient were 81.32 dollars per day in group 1 compared with 318.53 dollars per day in group 2, translating to 1186.05 dollars savings for 5 days.

CONCLUSIONS: Once-a-day dosing with ceftriaxone and Flagyl provides adequate antibiotic coverage for the postoperative management of perforated appendicitis in children. This regimen allows patients to more rapidly defervesce compared with traditional triple antibiotic coverage; moreover, this simple regimen provides substantial advantages for administration and expense.

Journal Title

Journal of pediatric surgery





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MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; Anti-Bacterial Agents; Antibiotic Prophylaxis; Appendicitis; Ceftriaxone; Child; Child, Preschool; Cost-Benefit Analysis; Female; Humans; Male; Metronidazole; Retrospective Studies


Appendicitis; Antibiotic

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