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5.1 Antibacterial Drugs

The most recent Guidelines for Primary and Secondary Care can be found below:

Antimicrobial Guidelines in Primary Care

Antimicrobial Guidelines for Secondary Care

NICE Visual Summaries: Antimicrobial Prescribing

For further guidance refer to local Consultant Microbiologists or contact your pharmacist.

    5.1.1 Penicillins
 Benzylpenicillin and phenoxymethylpenicillin
              GREEN       Benyzylpenicillin (Penicillin G) injection 600mg, 1.2g 
              GREEN       Phenoxymethylpenicillin (PenicillinV)  
                                  tablets 250mg
                                  oral solution 125mg/5ml, 250mg/5mL
 Penicillinase-resistant penicillins
              GREEN      Flucloxacillin  
                                capsules 250mg, 500mg
                                oral solution 125mg/5ml, 250mg/5mL
              RED           Flucloxacillin injection 250mg, 500mg, 1g
              RED           Temocillin
                                Powder for solution (1g)
                                Use in urosepsis where use of gentamicin not possible and on advice of 
                                consultant microbiologist for resistant gram negative bacteria.
              RED          Ceftazidime-avibactam
                                Powder for solution for infusion  2g/0.5g
                                Treatment of multi-drug resistant organisms in adult patients with limited treatment options.
                                (on advice of consultant microbiologist only, hospital use only)
 Broad-spectrum penicillins
              GREEN      Amoxicillin
                                 capsules 250mg, 500mg
                                 suspension 125mg/5ml, 250mg/5mL
                                 sachet (sugar free) 3g
              RED           Amoxicillin injection 500mg, 1g 
              GREEN      Co-amoxiclav
                                tablets 250/125, 500/125
                                suspension 250/62, 125/31
              RED           Co-amoxiclav injection 500/100, 1000/200

  Antipseudomonal penicillins
               RED           Tazocin injection 4.5g
              GREEN       Pivmecillinam (alternative 1st line agent in UTI)
                                  tablets 200mg  (on advice of Consultant Microbiologist only)
                                  Not for prophylaxis. See MicroGuide Adult Antimicrobial Guidelines 
 Back to Main Chapter
    5.1.2.  Cephalosporins, carbapenems and other beta-lactams Cephalosporins 
              GREEN      Cefaclor
                                 tablets m/r 375mg
                                 suspension 125mg/5mL, 250mg/5mL
             GREEN       Cefalexin
                                capsules 250mg, 500mg
                                syrup 125mg/5mL, 250mg/5mL
             GREEN       Cefixime tablets 200mg 
             RED            Cefiderocol 1g powder for concentrate for for solution [Fetcroja®] 
                                (on advice of Consultant Microbiologist only)
            Cefotaxime may be used in primary care for use when meningococcal disease is suspected and benzylpenicillin cannot be
            given, as long as this does not delay the urgent transfer to hospital. (See antimicrobial guidelines) 
            GREEN      Cefotaxime (Paediatrics only) Injection 250mg, 500mg,1g 
            RED           Ceftazidime injection 500mg, 1g, 2g 
            RED           Ceftriaxone injection 250mg, 1g 
            RED           Cefuroxime injection 250mg, 750mg, 1.5g  
            RED           Ceftolozane/tazobactam (Zerbax®) On advice of Consultant Microbiologist only
            RED           Meropenem (on advice of Consultant Microbiologist only injection 500mg, 1g
            RED           Meropenem with vaborbactam powder for concentrate for solution for infusion 1g/1g 
                  [consultant microbiologist recommendation only]
   Other beta-lactam antibiotics
            Pseudomonal colonisation in cystic fibrosis - paediatric use only
            RED           Aztreonam 75mg powder + solvent for nebuliser solution (Cayston®)
  Back to Main Chapter

    5.1.3 Tetracyclines - see section13.6.2 for use in acne
            GREEN     Doxycycline capsules 50mg, 100mg
            GREEN     Doxycycline dispersible 100mg (Vibramycin-D)  
                             (an option when swallowing difficulties)
            GREEN     Lymecycline capsules 408mg
            GREEN     Minocycline tablets 50mg, 100mg 
                             (not for use in acne- see section 13.6.2 for acne)
            GREEN     Oxytetracycline tablets 250mg
            GREEN     Tetracycline tablets 250mg
            Tigecycline should only be initiated on the direct advice of a microbiologist, and should be prescribed at registrar/consultant 
            level for the management of complicated skin/soft tissue or intra-abdominal infections.  It should be used to replace the use 
            of more costly double/triple combinations where these are inappropriate, ineffective or not tolerated. All prescriptions 
            should be endorsed ‘microbiologist approved’ and given a review date by the microbiologist which initially must be no more 
            than 5 days from commencement. 
            MHRA Advice for healthcare professionals:  
                   >   Reformulated tigecycline is incompatible with amphotericin B, amphotericin B lipid complex and diazepam.
                        These medicines should not be given simultaneously with the new tigecycline formulation through the same Y- site.
                   >   Tigecycline must not be mixed with other products for which compatibility data are not available.
                   >   Please remember that the original formulation is also incompatible with some medicines.
           RED           Tigecycline injection 50mg   

 Back to Main Chapter 

    5.1.4 Aminoglycosides
            AMBER     Gentamicin injection 10mg/mL, 80mg/2mL 
            AMBER     Neomycin tablets 500mg 
            RED          Tobramycin (Bramitob®) nebuliser solution 300mg   
                              for cystic fibrosis in children only. 
            RED          Tobramycin  dry powder for inhalation for treating pseudomonas lung infections
                               in cystic fibrosis as per NICE (TAG276)   
            RED          Tobramycin IV for use in paediatrics  [cystic fibrosis]
            NOTE:      Tobramycin is RED Traffic Light where prescribing has been initiated on or after 1st April 2013.
                             Where prescribing was initiated prior to April 1st 2013 the traffic light status may remain AMBER  until 
                             repatriation of patients has been agreed by NHS England, local commissioners and providers.

    5.1.5 Macrolides
            GREEN      Azithromycin
                               tablets 250mgtablets 500mg  
                               suspension 200mg/5mL
            GREEN      Clarithromycin
                               tablets 250mg
                               suspension 125mg/5ml, 250mg/5mL
            RED             Clarithromycin injection 500mg  
            GREEN      Erythromycin
                               tablets e/c 250mg
                               suspension 125mg/5mL, 250mg/5mL
    5.1.6 Clindamycin 
             GREEN      Clindamycin
                                capsules 75mg, 150mg 
             RED           Clindamycin injection 600mg/4mL 
 Back to Main Chapter 

    5.1.7 Some other antibacterials 
            Fosfomycin GP pathway protocol updated 0916 [361 KB]    
            AMBER     Fosfomycin 3g sachets (prescribe as Monuril®)   
                              Only to be given on advice of consultant microbiologist -Refer to pathway above 
            RED           Fosfomycin injection (Fomicyt®) 
                             On advice of consultant microbiologist only. 
          Clostridiodes difficile infection - NICE NG199
            Vancomycin [oral] - 1st line
            GREEN       Vancomycin capsules 125mg,
            Fidaxomicin  - 2nd line 
            AMBER       Fidaxomicin 200mg tablets (Consultant Microbiologist Initiation only)  
          Click here for stock availability in community pharmacy
           RED           Chloramphenicol injection 1g  
          Colistimethate sodium DPI is recommended as an option for treating  chronic pseudomonas lung infections in cystic fibrosis 
          as per  NICE (TAG276)  only if: 
                >       they would clinically benefit from continued colistimethate sodium but do not tolerate it in its nebulised form and
                         thus tobramycin therapy would be considered and
                >       the manufacturer provides colistimethate sodium DPI with the discount agreed as part of the patient access scheme
                         to primary, secondary and tertiary care in the NHS
            RED           Colistimethate sodium dry powder  
                             (Colobreathe® inhalation powder capsules)
        Colistimethate is RED Traffic Light where prescribing has been initiated on or after 1st April 2013.
        Where prescribing was initiated prior to April 1st 2013 the traffic light status may remain amber until repatriation 
           of patients has been agreed by NHS England, local commissioners and providers  
            Colistemethate for nebulisation
            Colomycin in Bronchiectesis [non Cystic Fibrosis] is recommended when long term nebulised therapy is being  
            considered. Delivered by nebulisation/inhalation. 
            Specialist initiation. Training and education regarding use of nebuliser to be  provided by specialist.  
            AMBER       Colistimethate injection 1million unit (Colomycin)* 
            See Prescribing Information Sheet 
           AMBER     Gentamicin injection  10mg/mL, 80mg/2mL  (2nd line alternative to colistin) 
                             (delivered by inhalation/nebulisation) 
           Cystic fibrosis
            RED           Colistimethate sodium, powder for reconstitution 1million-unit & 2 million-unit vial      [NHS England Commissioned]
       Back to Main Chapter

            Fusidic acid  
            GREEN      Sodium fusidate
                               tablets 250mg
                              suspension (fusidic acid) 250mg/5mL
            RED           Sodium fusidate infusion 500mg (on advice of Consultant Microbiologist only)
            AMBER    Rifaximin tablets 550mg ( NICE TAG337)   
            Rifaximin as second line antibacterial treatment for the treatment of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
            To be initiated by specialist and prescribing retained within secondary care. 
            RED           Rifaximin [Targaxan® 550mg tablets, Xifaxanta® 200mg tablets]
            Vancomycin and teicoplanin  
            GREEN       Vancomycin capsules 125mg,
            RED            Vancomycin injection 500mg, 1g
            AMBER      Teicoplanin injection 200mg, 400mg
            RED            Dalbavancin 500mg powder for concentrate for infusion
           AMBER      Linezolid (on advice of Consultant Microbiologist only)  see prescribing information sheet
                              tablets 600mg
           RED           infusion 2mg/mL (600mg/300mL)

    5.1.8 Sulphonamides and trimethoprim
          AMBER     Co-trimoxazole
                             tablets 480mg, 960mg
                             suspension 240/5ml, 480/5mL
          RED           Co-trimoxazole injection 480mg/5mL, 960mg/10mL
          GREEN     Trimethoprim
                            tablets 100mg, 200mg
                            suspension 50mg/5mL 
  Back to Main Chapter
     5.1.9 Antituberculous drugs 
         All cases of suspected tuberculosis or other mycobacterial disease must be discussed with a respiratory physician.
        RED           Capreomycin 1g powder for solution                                                                                          NHS England Commissioned     
        RED           Cycloserine capsules 250mg                                                                                                         NHS England Commissioned  
        RED           Terizidone 250mg capsules (for use when cycloserine is unavailable                                    NHS England Commissioned
        RED           Ethambutol tablets 100mg, 400mg                                                                                              NHS England Commissioned  
        RED           Isoniazid    tablets 100mg,  elixir 50mg/5mL                                                                               NHS England Commissioned
        RED           Isoniazid injection 50mg/2mL
        RED           Pyrazinamide tablets 500mg                                                                                                         NHS England Commissioned
        RED            Rifampicin injection 600mg
        RED           Rifater® tablets (rifampicin 120mg, isoniazid 50mg, pyrazinamide 300mg)                             NHS England Commissioned
        RED           Rifinah® tablets 150 (rifampicin 150mg, isoniazid 100mg),                                                     NHS England Commissioned
                          tablets 300 (rifampicin 300mg, isoniazid 150mg)   
        RED           Voractiv® tablets (Rifampicin150mg, isoniazid 75mg, pyrazinamide 400mg, ethambutol 275mg)
        Rifampicin for Non-TB, licensed indications 
        AMBER      Rifampicin                                                                                                                                        (NHS England Commissioned)
                           capsules 150mg, 300mg, syrup 100mg/5mL     (Rifadin®, Rimactane®)      
                           Prescribing should routinely be retained by specialists within secondary care to ensure optimal treatment.
  Back to Main Chapter
         5.1.10 Antileprotic drugs
         AMBER      Dapsone tablets 50mg
        5.1.11 Metronidazole and tinidazole
        GREEN        Metronidazole  
                            tablets 200mg, 400mg
                            suspension 200mg/5mL
                            suppositories 500mg, 1gram
         RED            Metronidazole infusion 500mg/100mL

         5.1.12 Quinolones
         GREEN      Ciprofloxacin    - See patient information leaflet 
                            tablets 250mg, 500mg
                           suspension 125mg/5ml, 250mg/5mL
         RED           Ciprofloxacin infusion 100mg/50mL, 200mg/100mL, 400mg/200mL
         GREEN     Ofloxacin tablets 200mg
         GREEN      Levofloxacin tablets 250mg
         RED           Delafloxacin [Quofenix - [for use only on advice of microbiologist]
                           300mg powder for concentration for solution for infusion
                           tablets 450mg 

 Back to Main Chapter

        5.1.13 urinary-tract infections
        Please consult Antimicrobial Guidelines in Primary Care
        NICE Visual Summaries: Antimicrobial Prescribing

        Information Leaflet - Uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infection

        Urinary Tract Infections in Adults
        GREEN      Nitrofurantoin*
                          100 mg M/R capsules (1st Line choice)
                          50mg capsules**   
                          100mg tablets
                          50mg tablets
        GREEN      Trimethoprim tablets (alternative 1st line agent, if low risk of resistance)
        GREEN      Pivmecillinam (alternative 1st line agent)
        GREEN      *Methenamine Hippurate *[PRESCRIBE BY BRAND HIPREX®]
                          (Recurrent UTI, 3rd line use ONLY in recurrent UTI in non-pregnant women - 2 in 6 months or > 3 in a year;) 
                          1g tablets
        * To help avoid an upset stomach, give nitrofurantoin with some food or milk.
          Tablets must be swallowed whole, do not crush. [Ref: Newt guidelines]
          Long- acting capsules should be swallowed whole. Do not open, crush, or chew the long-acting/Modified Release  
          capsule(ref: Newt guidelines). 
          Non-MR capsule can  be opened in swallowing difficulties and mixed with water for administration
        Urinary Tract Infections in Paediatrics 
        GREEN      1st line   Trimethoprim liquid
        GREEN      2nd line  Nitrofurantoin tablets 50mg*
        GREEN      3rd line  Cefalexin liquid
        NB In order to allow the correct dose to be administered nitrofurantoin liquid maybe used in paediatrics if sensitivities confirm.
       *To help avoid an upset stomach, givnitrofurantoin with some food or milk. 
        Tablets must be swallowed whole, do not crush. [Ref: Newt guidelines]
        AMBER      Nitrofurantoin Liquid 25mg/5ml- only if confirmed by sensitivities in paediatric patients 


  Back to Main Chapter


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on medicine-related matters are advised to speak with their GP, pharmacist, nurse or contact NHS111 Service.
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