Close
New

Medscape is available in 5 Language Editions – Choose your Edition here.

 

Spinal Epidural Abscess Medication

  • Author: J Stephen Huff, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MD, DM  more...
 
Updated: Jun 14, 2016
 

Medication Summary

Antibiotic treatment should be initiated as soon as the diagnosis is reasonably considered, and is most often used in conjunction with abscess aspiration or surgical therapy. The usual duration of antibiotic therapy is 3-4 weeks, but may be lengthened in the presence of osteomyelitis.

As mentioned above, in select stable patients, antibiotic therapy may be briefly delayed until material is obtained for culture.

Next

Antibiotics

Class Summary

Because S aureus is a common pathogen, antistaphylococcal drugs should be included in the treatment regimen. An antistaphylococcal penicillin, a cephalosporin, or vancomycin may be used. Again, with the increasing incidence of methicillin-resistant staphylococcal infections, coverage that includes antibiotics effective against MRSA is recommended. If the patient has undergone a neurosurgical procedure recently, the penicillin should be combined with a third-generation cephalosporin and an aminoglycoside. Gram-stain and culture results are used to guide therapy.

Ceftriaxone (Rocephin)

 

Third-generation cephalosporin that has broad gram-negative spectrum, lower efficacy against gram-positive organisms, and higher efficacy against resistant organisms. By binding to penicillin-binding proteins, arrests bacterial cell wall synthesis and inhibits bacterial growth.

Nafcillin (Unipen)

 

Treats infections caused by penicillinase-producing staphylococci. Used to initiate therapy in any patient in whom penicillin G-resistant staphylococcal infection suspected. Should not be used for treatment of penicillin G-susceptible staphylococci.

Parenteral therapy used initially in severe infections. Very severe infections may require very high doses. As condition improves, parenteral therapy should be changed to oral therapy.

Because of occasional occurrence of thrombophlebitis associated with parenteral route, particularly in the elderly, parenteral route should be used only for short term (24-48 h) and changed to oral route, if clinically possible.

Cefazolin (Ancef, Kefzol, Zolicef)

 

First-generation semisynthetic cephalosporin, which by binding to penicillin-binding proteins arrests bacterial cell wall synthesis and inhibits bacterial growth. Active primarily against skin flora, including S aureus. Total daily dosage is same for both IV and IM routes.

Metronidazole (Flagyl)

 

Used in combination with other antibiotics in epidural abscess following neurosurgical procedures. Active against various anaerobic bacteria and protozoa. Appears to be absorbed into cells, and intermediate-metabolized compounds formed bind DNA and inhibit protein synthesis, causing cell death.

Gentamicin (Gentacidin, Garamycin)

 

Used in combination with other antibiotics for epidural abscess following neurosurgical procedures. Aminoglycoside antibiotic used for gram-negative bacterial coverage. Commonly used in combination with both an agent against gram-positive organisms and one that covers anaerobes. Dosing regimens are numerous and are adjusted based on CrCl and changes in volume of distribution. May be administered IV or IM.

Vancomycin (Vancocin)

 

Often used when MRSA or other resistant organisms are suspected. Potent antibiotic directed against gram-positive organisms and active against enterococci species. Useful in the treatment of septicemia and skin structure infections. Indicated for patients who cannot receive or whose conditions have failed to respond to penicillins and cephalosporins, or those who have infections with resistant staphylococci. For abdominal penetrating injuries, it is combined with an agent active against enteric flora and/or anaerobes.

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

Used in conjunction with gentamicin for prophylaxis in penicillin-allergic patients undergoing gastrointestinal or genitourinary procedures.

Previous
 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

J Stephen Huff, MD, FACEP Professor of Emergency Medicine and Neurology, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine

J Stephen Huff, MD, FACEP is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, American College of Emergency Physicians, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Florian P Thomas, MD, PhD, Drmed, MA, MS Director, National MS Society Multiple Sclerosis Center; Professor and Director, Clinical Research Unit, Department of Neurology, Adjunct Professor of Physical Therapy, Associate Professor, Institute for Molecular Virology, St Louis University School of Medicine; Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine

Florian P Thomas, MD, PhD, Drmed, MA, MS is a member of the following medical societies: Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Niranjan N Singh, MD, DM Associate Professor of Neurology, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine

Niranjan N Singh, MD, DM is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, American Headache Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Edward L Hogan, MD Professor, Department of Neurology, Medical College of Georgia; Emeritus Professor and Chair, Department of Neurology, Medical University of South Carolina

Edward L Hogan, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, Society for Neuroscience, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Southern Clinical Neurological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

References
  1. Darouiche RO. Spinal epidural abscess. N Engl J Med. 2006 Nov 9. 355(19):2012-20. [Medline].

  2. Bremer AA, Darouiche RO. Spinal epidural abscess presenting as intra-abdominal pathology: a case report and literature review. J Emerg Med. 2004 Jan. 26(1):51-6. [Medline].

  3. Rigamonti D, Liem L, Sampath P, et al. Spinal epidural abscess: contemporary trends in etiology, evaluation, and management. Surg Neurol. 1999 Aug. 52(2):189-96; discussion 197. [Medline].

  4. Karikari IO, Powers CJ, Reynolds RM, Mehta AI, Isaacs RE. Management of a spontaneous spinal epidural abscess: a single-center 10-year experience. Neurosurgery. 2009 Nov. 65(5):919-23; discussion 923-4. [Medline].

  5. Kauffman CA, Pappas PG, Patterson TF. Fungal infections associated with contaminated methylprednisolone injections. N Engl J Med. 2013 Jun 27. 368(26):2495-500. [Medline].

  6. Joshi SM, Hatfield RH, Martin J, Taylor W. Spinal epidural abscess: a diagnostic challenge. Br J Neurosurg. 2003 Apr. 17(2):160-3. [Medline].

  7. Prendergast H, Jerrard D, O'Connell J. Atypical presentations of epidural abscess in intravenous drug abusers. Am J Emerg Med. 1997 Mar. 15(2):158-60. [Medline].

  8. Davis DP, Wold RM, Patel RJ, et al. The clinical presentation and impact of diagnostic delays on emergency department patients with spinal epidural abscess. J Emerg Med. 2004 Apr. 26(3):285-91. [Medline].

  9. Trombly R, Guest JD. Acute central cord syndrome arising from a cervical epidural abscess: case report. Neurosurgery. 2007 Aug. 61(2):E424-5; discussion E425. [Medline].

  10. Dugas AF, Lucas JM, Edlow JA. Diagnosis of spinal cord compression in nontrauma patients in the emergency department. Acad Emerg Med. 2011 Jul. 18(7):719-25. [Medline].

  11. Tasher D, Armarnik E, Mizrahi A, Liat BS, Constantini S, Grisaru-Soen G. Cat Scratch Disease With Cervical Vertebral Osteomyelitis and Spinal Epidural Abscess. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2009 Jul 31. [Medline].

  12. Mehta SH, Shih R. Cervical epidural abscess associated with massively elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate. J Emerg Med. 2004 Jan. 26(1):107-9. [Medline].

  13. Davis DP, Salazar A, Chan TC, Vilke GM. Prospective evaluation of a clinical decision guideline to diagnose spinal epidural abscess in patients who present to the emergency department with spine pain. J Neurosurg Spine. 2011 Jun. 14(6):765-70. [Medline].

  14. Siddiq F, Chowfin A, Tight R, et al. Medical vs surgical management of spinal epidural abscess. Arch Intern Med. 2004 Dec 13-27. 164(22):2409-12. [Medline].

  15. Pradilla G, Ardila GP, Hsu W, Rigamonti D. Epidural abscesses of the CNS. Lancet Neurol. 2009 Mar. 8(3):292-300. [Medline].

  16. Hawkins M, Bolton M. Pediatric spinal epidural abscess: a 9-year institutional review and review of the literature. Pediatrics. 2013 Dec. 132(6):e1680-5. [Medline].

  17. Pereira CE, Lynch JC. Spinal epidural abscess: an analysis of 24 cases. Surg Neurol. 2005. 63 Suppl 1:S26-9. [Medline].

  18. Patel AR, Alton TB, Bransford RJ, Lee MJ, Bellabarba CB, Chapman JR. Spinal epidural abscesses: risk factors, medical versus surgical management, a retrospective review of 128 cases. Spine J. 2014 Feb 1. 14(2):326-30. [Medline].

  19. Bluman EM, Palumbo MA, Lucas PR. Spinal epidural abscess in adults. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2004 May-Jun. 12(3):155-63. [Medline].

  20. Butler KH. Spinal epidural abscess: Current diagnostic and management protocols. Emerg Med Rep. 21:95-104.

  21. Gerberding JL, Romero JM, Ferraro MJ. Case records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Case 34-2008. A 58-year-old woman with neck pain and fever. N Engl J Med. 2008 Oct 30. 359(18):1942-9. [Medline].

  22. Grewal S, Hocking G, Wildsmith JA. Epidural abscesses. Br J Anaesth. 2006 Mar. 96(3):292-302. [Medline].

  23. Hooten WM, Kinney MO, Huntoon MA. Epidural abscess and meningitis after epidural corticosteroid injection. Mayo Clin Proc. 2004 May. 79(5):682-6. [Medline].

  24. Tessman PA, Preston DC, Shapiro BE. Spinal epidural abscess in an afebrile patient. Arch Neurol. 2004 Apr. 61(4):590-1. [Medline].

  25. Tompkins M, Panuncialman I, Lucas P, Palumbo M. Spinal epidural abscess. J Emerg Med. 2010 Sep. 39(3):384-90. [Medline].

  26. Uchida K, Nakajima H, Yayama T, Sato R, Kobayashi S, Chen KB, et al. Epidural abscess associated with pyogenic spondylodiscitis of the lumbar spine; evaluation of a new MRI staging classification and imaging findings as indicators of surgical management: a retrospective study of 37 patients. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2009 Jun 30. [Medline].

 
Previous
Next
 
Cervical epidural abscess with spinal cord compression and spinal cord edema.
Spinal epidural abscess lumbar area.
 
 
 
All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright © 1994-2016 by WebMD LLC. This website also contains material copyrighted by 3rd parties.