Pericarditis Empiric Therapy 

Updated: Jan 16, 2015
  • Author: Ryan C Maves, MD, FACP, FCCP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Empiric Therapy Regimens

Empiric therapeutic regimens for infectious pericarditis are outlined below, including those for bacterial infections, viral infections, fungal infections, and mycobacterial infections. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

Bacterial infection

Immunocompetent patient

  • Vancomycin 15 mg/kg IV q12h plus  ceftriaxone 1-2 g IV q12h
  • Duration of therapy: Optimal treatment duration is not well studied and varies per patient; look for symptomatic and electrocardiographic/echocardiographic improvement

Immunocompromised patient, nosocomial infection, and/or critically ill patient

  • Vancomycin 15 mg/kg IV q12h plus  cefepime 2 g IV q12h plus  ciprofloxacin 400 mg IV q24h
  • Duration of therapy: Optimal treatment duration is not well studied and varies per patient; look for symptomatic and electrocardiographic/echocardiographic improvement

Viral infection

First-line treatment

  • Ibuprofen 300-800 mg PO q8h plus  colchicine 0.6 mg PO BID
  • Duration of therapy: Optimal treatment duration is not well studied and varies per patient; NSAIDs are generally used for 1-2 weeks, with colchicine continued for up to 3 months to reduce risk of recurrence.

Second-line treatment (refractory cases or intolerant of NSAIDs)

  • Prednisone 0.25-1 mg/kg PO daily plus  colchicine 0.6 mg PO BID
  • Duration of therapy: Optimal treatment duration is not well studied and varies per patient; prednisone may be tapered after 2-4 weeks if patients are asymptomatic, with colchicine continued for up to 3 months to reduce risk of recurrence

Fungal infection

First-line treatment

  • Micafungin 100 mg IV q24h or
  • Anidulafungin 200 mg loading dose, then 100 mg IV q24h or
  • Caspofungin 70 mg loading dose, then 50 mg IV q24h
  • Duration of therapy: Optimal treatment duration is not well studied and varies per patient; look for symptomatic and electrocardiographic/echocardiographic improvement; surgical or percutaneous drainage typically required

Second-line treatment (or if patient is critically)

  • Liposomal amphotericin B IV 3-5 mg/kg daily
  • Duration of therapy: Optimal treatment duration is not well studied and varies per patient; surgical or percutaneous drainage typically required

Mycobacterial infection

4-drug regimen

  • Isoniazid 300 mg PO q24h plus
  • Rifampin 600 mg PO q24h plus
  • Pyrazinamide 15-30 mg/kg PO daily (up to 2 g/day) given as a single dose plus
  • Ethambutol 15-25 mg/kg PO q24h or  streptomycin 20-40 mg/kg (up to 1 g) IM q24h
  • Duration of therapy: 4-drug regimen for 8 weeks, then daily isoniazid and rifampin only for 4 months
  • Optional: Prednisone 1-2 mg/kg/day for 5-7 days, then progressively tapered to discontinuation in 6-8 weeks