Treating an MRSA Infection

A Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA infection is of staph bacteria. In the case of MRSA, the bacteria causing infection has become resistant to many of the antibiotics traditionally used to treat a staph infection. At this time, a majority of MRSA infections occur in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar types of facilities. With that said, an ever-increasing number of MRSA infections are contracted in the community at large. Due to the serious nature of MRSA, understanding how an infection is treated is imperative.

MRSA Medical Treatment – Upper and More Minor Skin Infections

The treatment protocol followed to combat an MRSA depends on a part on whether the infection has remained in the skin or gone deeper into a person’s body. As discussed, one of the reasons why an MRSA infection is so dangerous is because it is highly resistant to treatment by most antibiotics. With that noted, there are antibiotics that are used to treat MRSA. When the infection is found in the upper part of a person’s skin and is not particularly severe, antibiotics are taken orally.

When MRSA infects a person’s skin, the antibiotics that are used to fight the infection are:

  • Clindamycin
  • Linezolid
  • Mupirocin
  • Tetracyclines
  • Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole

These antibiotics were brought into use for treatment because of the MRSA not being resistant to them. Sadly, this is no longer the case to some degree with some of these antibiotics.

Clindamycin had been quite effective at treating MRSA. However, more recently in the United States, MRSA has become increasingly resistant to Clindamycin.

Linezolid has become the most commonly prescribed antibiotic in the case of MRSA infection. Thus far, no evidence of notable resistance to Linezolid has been recorded in the United States. As an aside, this currently is the most expensive MRSA treatment costing between $1,000 to $2,000 for 20 tablets.

Similarly, in some communities in the United States, MRSA resistance to Mupirocin has started to be demonstrated. At this time, MRSA resistance to Mupirocin is not widespread. However, the range of MRSA resistance to Mupirocin can change in very little time.

Presently, MRSA has demonstrated little to no resistance to Tetracyclines. However, the use of Tetracyclines is quite limited. It is only proven safe and effective for treating more superficial MRSA infections of the skin. It is not recommended for deeper skin infections.

Finally, Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole technically has not been specifically approved for any type of staph infection, including MRSA. However, with that said, Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole has been demonstrated effective in combating MRSA skin infections. The FDA is permitting an “off label” use of Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole to treat MRSA when other options have proven ineffective.

MRSA Medical Treatment – Internal and More Severe Infections

Unfortunately, oftentimes an MRSA infection is not minor nor contained to an upper level of a person’s skin. In such situations, there are certain antibiotics that can combat an MRSA infection. In many cases of an internal and more severe infection, the intravenous or IV administration of antibiotics becomes necessary.

Antibiotics that remain generally effective at combating an internal or more severe MRSA infection are:

  • Linezolid
  • Daptomycin
  • Clindamycin
  • Vancomycin

Linezolid was discussed previously in the matter of treating a skin or less severe MRSA infection. It is also used in the treatment of internal and severe infections.  As was noted previously, thus far there no evidence of notable resistance to Linezolid has been recorded in the United States. However, that status could change without warning.

Currently, Daptomycin has been approved as an effective treatment for MRSA in adults. At the present time, the use of this antibiotic has not been approved for children.

Clindamycin was discussed previously in regard to skin level and less severe MRSA infections. It is also prescribed for internal and more severe infections. However, across the United States, MRSA is becoming increasingly resistant to Clindamycin.

In treating MRSA, Vancomycin was the antibiotic of choice for quite some time. Indeed, it was the antibiotic of last resort when all others failed. Unfortunately, certain strains of MRSA are proving resistant to Vancomycin in this day and age. There is now even a particular MRSA strain known as Vancomycin resistant Staph aureus.

Lancing and Draining Infections

MRSA that manifests as a skin infection oftentimes is treated with professional lancing and draining. Lancing and draining sometimes is the only course of treatment undertaken in the case of a less severe skin infection. In the alternative, lancing and draining are undertaken in conjunction with the use of antibiotics.

Ineffective Antibiotics in Fighting MRSA

There are whole classes of antibiotics that are now thoroughly useless in treating MRSA because the bacteria have become completely resistant. These include:

  • Methicillin
  • Penicillin
  • Amoxicillin

In addition, these antibiotics are not recommended to attempt to treat MRSA because resistant has reached the point that they are likely to be of no effect whatsoever:

  • Cefazolin
  • Cephalothin
  • Cephalexin

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning to healthcare providers to not use certain antibiotics for the treatment of MRSA at this time because they are thought to be of a type that an immediate MRSA resistance will occur. These antibiotics are:

  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • Levofloxacin
  • Erythromycin
  • Clarithromycin
  • Azithromycin

Dire Prediction Regarding MRSA Antibiotic Treatment

The CDC has a standing alert that MRSA will become ever more resistant to a broad range of antibiotics. The CDC believes that it will only be a matter of time before antibiotics cannot be relied upon to treat MRSA infections. As a result, a great deal of effort is being placed on developing some other alternative course of treatment for a resilient MRSA infection.

In the interim, the CDC is adamant about being following strident cleaning and disinfection protocols to prevent the spread of the MRSA virus. This includes cleaning and disinfection as part of a personal hygiene regimen.  It also includes adopting appropriate practices to eliminate the MRSA virus from hospitals and other medical settings as well as from homes and businesses. In many instances, a professional MRSA cleaning company may need to be called upon to ensure that the bacteria are fully eradicated from a home or business.