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Oral rifampin for eradication of Staphylococcus aureus carriage from healthy and sick populations: a systematic review of the evidence from comparative trials.

BACKGROUND: Rifampin has been used for the eradication of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) colonization in various populations of healthy and sick people.

METHODS: We performed a systematic review of the evidence from randomized and nonrandomized controlled trials that compared the effectiveness and safety of a rifampin-based regimen with another regimen in eradicating S. aureus colonization from healthy and sick people.

RESULTS: Nine comparative trials (6 of which were randomized controlled trials) were included in our analysis. S. aureus was eradicated more commonly in patients receiving rifampin-containing regimens compared to monotherapy with other systemic agents (ciprofloxacin, cloxacillin, minocycline, or vancomycin), both during early and late (>1 month after therapy) post treatment evaluations (odds ratio [OR] 46.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 14.4-148, and OR 8.8, 95% CI 3.4-22.5 respectively, 4 studies included). There was no statistically significant difference between rifampin monotherapy and combinations of rifampin with other topical (bacitracin) or systemic (cloxacillin and minocycline) antibiotics in eradicating S. aureus both in early and late evaluations (OR 1.5, 95% CI 0.5-4.4, and OR 1.6, 95% CI 0.7-3.7, respectively, 3 studies included). Eradication of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) varied according to the type and duration of the rifampin-containing regimen. It ranged from 25% for the combination of rifampin with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole for 5 days to 100% for the combination of oral rifampin and minocycline for 14 days. Discontinuation of rifampin due to drug-related toxicity was necessary in 2% of 282 studied patients. Development of resistance of S. aureus to rifampin during and after treatment with a regimen containing rifampin ranged from 0% to 40% (7 studies) and overall 17% of the 236 patients for whom relevant data was reported.

CONCLUSION: The available evidence suggests that oral rifampin is an effective agent for the eradication of S. aureus carriage. However, development of antimicrobial resistance during and after treatment with rifampin occurs in a considerable proportion of patients; using rifampin in combination with another antimicrobial agent may decrease this resistance.

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