A new intravenous antibiotic that can be used to treat potentially life-threatening skin infections in just half an hour could reduce nurses’ workload and pressure on the NHS, according to claims.
The drug – dalbavancin hydrochloride (Xydalba) – has been approved by the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI), which include cellulitis, wound infections and major skin abscesses.
“It enables the patient to receive a course of effective treatment and go home”
While other IV antibiotics may need to be administered for up to 14 days and mean patients spending time in hospital, dalbavancin hydrochloride can be used to deliver a full course if IV therapy as a single 30-minute infusion.
Trials of the drug show it can successfully be used to treat people with ABSSSI as outpatients with a single or two half hour infusions, said pharmaceutical company Cardiome Pharma Corporation, which markets the antibiotic in the UK.
“Xydalba represents a significant breakthrough in how ABSSSI are treated. It enables the patient to receive a course of effective treatment and go home,” said Kiran Bhirangi, the firm’s head of medical affairs.
“If the patient remains in the hospital for daily infusions, this not only uses the scarce resources of the NHS, but increases the risk of patients contracting further infections,” he said.
Dalbavancin hydrochloride is classified as a “narrow spectrum” antibiotic. Government guidelines currently recommend the use of narrow spectrum antibiotics, where appropriate, to help prevent antibiotic resistance.
More specifically, dalbavancin hydrochloride for infusion is a second-generation, semi-synthetic lipoglycopeptide, which consists of a lipophilic side-chain added to an enhanced glycopeptide backbone.
New antibiotic can be given in single 30-minute infusion
It is the first and only 30-minute, one dose treatment option for ABSSSI that delivers a full course of IV therapy.
The treatment can be administered as either one 1,500mg dose, or as a two-dose regimen of 1,000mg followed one week later by 500mg, each administered over 30 minutes.
It demonstrates bactericidal activity in vitro against a range of Gram-positive bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus – including methicillin-resistant strains – and Streptococcus pyogenes, as well as certain other streptococcal species.
The drug has already been approved for restricted use in Scotland by the Scottish Medicines Consortium.
It is approved by the SMC for second-line use or when MRSA infection is suspected, or on the advice of local microbiologists or infectious disease specialists.
And where the patient is initially hospitalised due to ABSSSI, requires intravenous antibiotics, but is eligible for early discharge as soon as their condition does not require further inpatient treatment.