What Intravenous Antibiotics Are Used for Cellulitis?


Quick Answer

Initial intravenous antibiotic therapy for cellulitis includes the use of empiric antibiotics, such as vancomycin, linezolid, ceftaroline and daptomycin, explains Medscape. Once bacterial susceptibility results are available, the therapy is changed to more appropriate antibiotics to which the bacteria is sensitive, such as tetracycline, trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole or others.

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Full Answer

Cellulitis is a common but potentially dangerous skin infection caused by bacteria that enters a break in the skin, according to WebMD. It presents as a swollen, red and tender area on the skin usually in places that have a cut, a wound or poor circulation.

Risk factors for developing this infection include skin trauma; diabetes; poor circulation; liver disease; skin disorders, such as eczema; psoriasis; and infections, such as chickenpox, explains WebMD. Emergency symptoms that require immediate medication attention include fever or chills, nausea and vomiting, numbness, and hardening or enlargement of the affected area.

Some cases of cellulitis are treated in the outpatient setting with oral antibiotics for seven to 14 days, according to WebMD. Intravenous antibiotics are used when the infection is severe, when the infection becomes worse despite oral antibiotics, and in cases where large parts of the body or the eyes are involved. They are also used in patients who have other serious medical problems, young children and the very old.

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