Question In adults with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia, does the addition of 7 days of an antistaphylococcal β-lactam (flucloxacillin, cloxacillin, or cefazolin) to standard antibiotic therapy (vancomycin or daptomycin) lead to improved clinical outcomes at 90 days?
Findings In this randomized clinical trial that included 352 patients and was stopped early because of increased risk of acute kidney injury in the intervention group, the addition of an antistaphylococcal β-lactam to standard therapy, compared with standard therapy alone, resulted in no significant difference in the primary composite end point of mortality, bacteremia, relapse, or treatment failure (35% vs 39%, respectively).
Meaning Among patients with MRSA bacteremia, the addition of an antistaphylococcal β-lactam to standard antibiotic therapy did not significantly reduce the primary composite end point.
Importance Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia is associated with mortality of more than 20%. Combining standard therapy with a β-lactam antibiotic has been associated with reduced mortality, although adequately powered randomized clinical trials of this intervention have not been conducted.
Objective To determine whether combining an antistaphylococcal β-lactam with standard therapy is more effective than standard therapy alone in patients with MRSA bacteremia.
Design, Setting, and Participants Open-label, randomized clinical trial conducted at 27 hospital sites in 4 countries from August 2015 to July 2018 among 352 hospitalized adults with MRSA bacteremia. Follow-up was complete on October 23, 2018.
Interventions Participants were randomized to standard therapy (intravenous vancomycin or daptomycin) plus an antistaphylococcal β-lactam (intravenous flucloxacillin, cloxacillin, or cefazolin) (n = 174) or standard therapy alone (n = 178). Total duration of therapy was determined by treating clinicians and the β-lactam was administered for 7 days.
Main Outcomes and Measures The primary end point was a 90-day composite of mortality, persistent bacteremia at day 5, microbiological relapse, and microbiological treatment failure. Secondary outcomes included mortality at days 14, 42, and 90; persistent bacteremia at days 2 and 5; acute kidney injury (AKI); microbiological relapse; microbiological treatment failure; and duration of intravenous antibiotics.
Results The data and safety monitoring board recommended early termination of the study prior to enrollment of 440 patients because of safety. Among 352 patients randomized (mean age, 62.2 [SD, 17.7] years; 121 women [34.4%]), 345 (98%) completed the trial. The primary end point was met by 59 (35%) with combination therapy and 68 (39%) with standard therapy (absolute difference, −4.2%; 95% CI, −14.3% to 6.0%). Seven of 9 prespecified secondary end points showed no significant difference. For the combination therapy vs standard therapy groups, all-cause 90-day mortality occurred in 35 (21%) vs 28 (16%) (difference, 4.5%; 95% CI, −3.7% to 12.7%); persistent bacteremia at day 5 was observed in 19 of 166 (11%) vs 35 of 172 (20%) (difference, −8.9%; 95% CI, −16.6% to −1.2%); and, excluding patients receiving dialysis at baseline, AKI occurred in 34 of 145 (23%) vs 9 of 145 (6%) (difference, 17.2%; 95% CI, 9.3%-25.2%).
Conclusions and Relevance Among patients with MRSA bacteremia, addition of an antistaphylococcal β-lactam to standard antibiotic therapy with vancomycin or daptomycin did not result in significant improvement in the primary composite end point of mortality, persistent bacteremia, relapse, or treatment failure. Early trial termination for safety concerns and the possibility that the study was underpowered to detect clinically important differences in favor of the intervention should be considered when interpreting the findings.
Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02365493