Every year, 300,000 Americans with appendicitis are rushed into emergency surgery. Most think that if the appendix is not immediately removed, it will burst — with potentially fatal consequences.
But now some doctors say there may another option: antibiotics.
Five small studies from Europe, involving a total of 1,000 patients, indicate that antibiotics can cure some patients with appendicitis; about 70 percent of those who took the pills did not require surgery.
Patients who wound up having an appendectomy after trying antibiotics first did not face any more complications that those who had surgery immediately.
This is an old concept, and deserves re-evaluation. If there was a way to tell if the appendicitis was due to an appendicolith, or not, success rates with antibiotics alone would be higher.
In the fight against infectious bacteria, humans are slowly losing the battle. That’s because common pathogens are developing resistance to the antibiotics we use to wipe them out. By 2050 it’s expected that, globally, drug-resistant infections will kill more people than cancer.
However, the fight is far from over. Researchers have discovered a potential new class of antibiotic that’s a triple threat: it obliterates many types of drug-resistant bacteria, it’s safe in mammals, and enemy cells weren’t easily able to develop resistance to it. And the microbes that produce it were discovered in the soil of one of the study authors’ backyards.
I wonder if you can…
Some nice graphics that illustrate the current crisis in antimicrobial therapy.
Dealing with methicillin-resistant Staph. aureas is a daily occurrence in my practice, but so is dealing with patients who want a Z-Pack for every cough and runny nose.