Which factors should be considered when choosing an empirical antibiotic regimen for acute pyelonephritis (kidney infection)?

Updated: Jul 01, 2021
  • Author: Tibor Fulop, MD, PhD, FACP, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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In choosing an empirical antibiotic regimen, consideration should include the local antibiogram and drug-resistance rates. For example, in a community with growing fluoroquinolone resistance, agents in that class may not be an ideal first-line choice. In light of increasing resistance, short courses of treatment are preferred. In one clinical trial, a 7-day course of oral ciprofloxacin was shown to be a safe and successful treatment for acute pyelonephritis in women, including older women and those with more severe infection. [25]

For uncomplicated pyelonephritis, the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends administering a short course of fluoroquinolones (5 to 7 days) or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX; 14 days), based on antibiotic susceptibility. [26]

Patient characteristics should also be considered. For example, patients who have been frequently exposed to antibiotics (eg, solid-organ transplant and hematopoietic transplant patients) or are from institutional facilities are at a greater risk for infection with drug-resistant pathogens, such as extended-spectrum beta-lactamase–producing or carbapenemase-producing organisms.

For more information, see Pyelonephritis Empiric Therapy and Pyelonephritis Organism-Specific Therapy

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