Group B Streptococcus (GBS) Infections Medication

Updated: Apr 21, 2021
  • Author: Christian J Woods, MD, FACP, FCCP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Medication

Medication Summary

The goals of pharmacotherapy are to reduce morbidity and to prevent complications.

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Antibiotics

Class Summary

Empiric antimicrobial therapy must be comprehensive and should cover all likely pathogens in the context of the clinical setting. Therapy should begin immediately after blood cultures are obtained.

Penicillin G (Pfizerpen)

Interferes with synthesis of cell wall mucopeptide during active multiplication, resulting in bactericidal activity against susceptible microorganisms. Penicillin remains the drug of choice for group B streptococcal infection.

Ampicillin (Ampi, Omnipen, Penglobe)

Interferes with synthesis of cell wall mucopeptide during active multiplication, resulting in bactericidal activity against susceptible microorganisms. Ampicillin  remains a drug of choice for group B streptococcal infection

Ceftriaxone (Rocephin)

Third-generation cephalosporin that arrests bacterial cell wall synthesis, inhibiting bacterial growth. Primarily active against skin flora, including most streptococcus and stahylococcus species. It also provides good gram-negative coverage

Ceftriaxone is alternative therapy to penicillin for group B streptococcal infection. Ceftriaxone would be effective for meningitis

Cefazolin (Ancef, Kefzol, Zolicef)

First-generation semisynthetic cephalosporin that arrests bacterial cell wall synthesis, inhibiting bacterial growth. Primarily active against skin flora, including Staphylococcus aureus. Typically used alone for skin and skin structure coverage. IV and IM dosing regimens are similar.

Cefazolin is alternative therapy to penicillin for group B streptococcal infection. Cefazolin would not be effective for meningitis.

Vancomycin (Vancocin)

Potent antibiotic directed against gram-positive organisms. Useful in the treatment of septicemia and skin structure infections. Indicated for patients who cannot receive or who have failed to respond to penicillins and cephalosporins or who have infections with resistant staphylococci.

To avoid toxicity, the current recommendation is to assay vancomycin trough levels after the third dose drawn 0.5 h prior to next dosing. Use creatinine clearance to adjust dose in patients diagnosed with renal impairment.

May need to adjust dose in renal impairment. Vancomycin is the initial treatment of choice for group B streptococcal infection in the penicillin-allergic individual.

Clindamycin (Cleocin)

Not for use as initial therapy because a small percent of group B streptococci will be resistant to clindamycin. Should not be used for endocarditis, bacteremia, or meningitis. If bacteria are sensitive, it can be used for pneumonia, osteomyelitis, and soft tissue infection. May also be useful as oral therapy to follow a course of parenteral therapy or if access becomes an issue.

Gentamicin (Gentacidin, Garamycin)

Aminoglycosides show synergy when used with penicillin for group B streptococcus. In neonates, the ill patient with sepsis and in certain situations, such as endocarditis, adding an aminoglycoside as a second drug may be helpful. The possible benefit must be weighed against the toxicity of renal and eighth nerve dysfunction, particularly in elderly people. The benefit of 2-drug therapy for group B streptococci has not been proven in terms of a better clinical outcome compared to penicillin therapy alone. The aminoglycoside needs to be tested against the isolate because only sensitive isolates can provide synergy.

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