By Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Oct. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- An older antibiotic called vancomycin is still effective in treating dangerous Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections, a new study finds.
The findings show that doctors should keep using vancomycin to treat Staphylococcus aureus infections even though there are several newer antibiotics available to do the job, University of Nebraska researchers said.
They analyzed the outcomes of nearly 8,300 cases of Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections in the United States and several other countries. The overall death rate was 26 percent.
The researchers concluded that vancomycin is still a safe and effective treatment in such cases.
Their findings were published Oct. 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"The study provides strong evidence that vancomycin remains highly useful," study leader Dr. Andre Kalil, an infectious diseases specialist and a professor in the internal medicine department, said in a university news release.
"Even though vancomycin is an older drug, it is still killing staph very efficiently," and doctors do not necessarily need to use newer drugs, he added.
"The prevention of a rapid switch to newer drugs has another great benefit to our patients -- less unnecessary exposure to these drugs, which will translate into less development of antibiotic resistance," Kalil said.
S. aureus infections are among the most common types of health care-associated infections, and staph bloodstream infections are among the most deadly.