Bringing hospital antibiotic treatments into the home

Because of increasing antibiotic resistance, many infections that were once treated with oral antibiotics have to be treated with injectable medicines. According to Professor David Looke and David McDougall from Infection Management Services, Queensland, a number of infections — such as serious skin infections and some cases of pneumonia — can now be treated this way at home.

Writing in the latest edition of Australian Prescriber, the authors say that whether a drug needs to be given once daily, twice daily, or as a continuous drip, depends on the type of antibiotic required.

Patients enrolled in home programs should be monitored by a doctor or nurse to minimise side effects and maximise the effectiveness of the treatment. Patient and carer education can also help.

“Receiving the correct dose of the medicine at the correct times is essential, but so are other aspects of care, such as bed rest, limb elevation and changing dressings, if required,” say the authors.

Not everybody is suitable for home treatment. Some patients may not be well enough to be at home, or the home environment may not be suitable.

Training patients and carers to administer medicines at home has enabled convenient and practical home treatment of many serious infections that cannot be treated with oral medicines.

Other articles in this issue include advice on acne treatment and an update on the management of Parkinson’s disease. To read the full article and others visit


Australian Prescriber is an independent peer-reviewed journal providing critical commentary on therapeutic topics for health professionals, particularly doctors in general practice. It is published every two months and distributed to health professionals free of charge, and is also available online at