Issue: June 2013
June 01, 2013
1 min read

Reasons unknown for recent increase in vancomycin use

Issue: June 2013
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WASHINGTON — Vancomycin use increased from January 2006 to December 2011, although there was no increase in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or antibiotic-resistant coagulase-negative Staphylococcus bacteremia, according to study results presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting.

“Concern over renal toxicity and the development of resistant bacterial strains suggest vancomycin should be used only when necessary,” Matthew Linakis, graduate student at the University of Utah, and colleagues wrote in the abstract. “The use of vancomycin has steadily increased over the past decade, but the reasons for this are not well understood.”

The retrospective study included children aged 0 to 18 years who were given at least 10 or more doses of vancomycin and additionally pulled out children who received at least one blood culture from January 2006 to September 2011.

Researchers found MRSA in 1.6% and pathogenic coagulase-negative Staphylococcus in 16.3% of the children treated with vancomycin.

“This suggested that around 82% of the study population did receive vancomycin without MRSA or coagulase-negative Staphylococcus positive cultures,” Linakis said.

Researchers also found an increase in vancomycin use (P<.001), and an increase in the number of MRSA or coagulase-negative Staphylococcus bacteremia case, but according to researchers it does not explain the overall increase in vancomycin use. The positive trend of vancomycin was also significantly different from the rates of MRSA and/or coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (P<.001).

“It remains unknown what these other causes are and whether they explain the dramatic rise in vancomycin use over the past 6 years,” researchers wrote in the abstract. “In light of ongoing concerns regarding the development of vancomycin-resistant bacterial strains, further research will be required to address these important questions.”


Linakis M. Abstract #2850.5. Presented at: Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting; May 4-7, 2013; Washington.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.