Antibiotics can help ward off serious bacterial infections in kidney disease patients who use tubes called catheters for their dialysis treatments. But if antibiotics are used too often, "super bugs" may crop up that are resistant to the drugs.
A new randomized controlled clinical trial has shown that using an antibiotic that is not usually used to treat other serious infections may be a safe way to prevent bacterial infections in dialysis patients. The study, which included approximately 200 dialysis patients, was conducted by Rodrigo Peixoto Campos, MD (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, in Curitiba, Brazil) and colleagues.
Between dialysis treatments, a catheter is "locked" to prevent blood clots from forming within the device. A lock is usually made by injecting the blood thinner heparin into the catheter. In this study, researchers compared heparin use with a solution made up of the antibiotic minocycline and the chemical EDTA. Minocycline is routinely used only to treat acne, and EDTA improves the action of antibiotics, fights fungal infections, and prevents blood clots. Half of patients in the study had catheter locks containing this combination while the other half had catheter locks containing only heparin.
Among the major findings: