Outcomes of patients with a history of injecting drug use and receipt of outpatient antimicrobial therapy

  • Kevin O’CallaghanEmail author
  • S. Tapp
  • K. Hajkowicz
  • A. Legg
  • K. L. McCarthy
Original Article


People who inject drugs (PWID) are susceptible to endovascular and deep-seated infections which require prolonged antibiotic therapy. There are concerns regarding this cohort’s suitability for outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT), but relatively little published data. Our aim is to publish our outcomes in this setting, to inform other clinicians’ decisions regarding PWID in OPAT. We reviewed case records of all PWID in our OPAT service from July 2015 to December 2017. Successful completion of OPAT care was defined as completing the duration of parenteral therapy as planned at the outset, with expected clinical improvement. Data was collected on complications including hospital re-admission, new blood stream infections, patient non-compliance including ongoing non-prescribed intravenous drug use, and staff safety compromise. Twenty-eight of 38 (76.2%) episodes of OPAT care for PWID were completed successfully, with 724 bed days of care provided. The cohort was labour intensive to manage with high rates of re-admission, non-attendance and line-associated infections. There were no adverse events for staff safety, and no patient deaths on the programme. OPAT can be a viable option for PWID provided there is careful patient selection, good patient engagement and sufficient resources allocated for patient management.




Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Infectious Diseases DepartmentRoyal Brisbane and Women’s HospitalHerstonAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Clinical Research, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital CampusThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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