Rifampin is considered as the antibiotic corner stone in the treatment of acute staphylococcal periprosthetic joint infections (PJI). However, if, when, and how to use rifampin has been questioned. We evaluated the outcome of patients treated with and without rifampin, and analysed the influence of timing, dose and co-antibiotic.
Acute staphylococcal PJIs treated with surgical debridement between 1999 and 2017, and a minimal follow-up of 1 year were evaluated. Treatment failure was defined as the need for any further surgical procedure related to infection, PJI-related death, or the need for suppressive antimicrobial treatment.
A total of 669 patients were analysed. Treatment failure was 32.2% (131/407) in patients treated with rifampin and 54.2% (142/262) in whom rifampin was withheld (P < 0.001). The most prominent effect of rifampin was observed in knees (treatment failure 28.6% versus 63.9%, respectively, P < 0.001). The use of rifampin was an independent predictor of treatment success in the multi-variate analysis (OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.20 – 0.45). In the rifampin group, the use of a co-antibiotic other than a fluoroquinolone (OR 7.73, 95% CI 4.26 – 14.0) and the start of rifampin within 5 days after surgical debridement (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.05 – 3.35) were predictors of treatment failure. Clindamycin demonstrated similar efficacy as co-antibiotic. The dosing of rifampin had no effect on outcome.
Our data supports the use of rifampin in acute staphylococcal PJIs treated with surgical debridement, particularly in knees. Immediate start of rifampin after surgical debridement should probably be discouraged.