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What is the treatment for a MRSA infection?

  • The main treatment for boils and abscesses is incision and drainage. Antibiotics may not be needed if the infection is mild and the pus is drained.
  • If antibiotic treatment is needed, it is usually empiric (based on the physician's best guess). Treatment can be made more precise if a pus sample can be sent to the laboratory. When the tests are run to determine that the staph bacteria isolated from a given patient are methicillin-resistant, they also provide valuable information about which antibiotics can successfully kill the bacteria (its susceptibility profile).

Fortunately, many MRSA infections can be treated by a common and long-standing antibiotic, vancomycin (Vancocin and generic brands), and it is included in most empiric treatment regimens. Newer drugs are also available, although some are much more expensive: ceftaroline (Teflaro), linezolid (Zyvox), daptomycin (Cubicin), dalbavancin (Dalvance), telavancin (Vibativ), and others. Only linezolid comes in a pill in addition to intravenous (IV) solution. Moderate to severe infections need to be treated by IV antibiotics, usually given in the hospital setting and completed at home with a home health agency.

Less serious infections are often susceptible to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim), doxycycline (Vibramycin), and clindamycin (Cleocin), all of which come in an oral form as well as IV. Rarely, some strains have become resistant to vancomycin (vancomycin-resistance, vancomycin-resistant Staph aureus, VRSA); this may require combinations of antibiotics.

Return to MRSA

See what others are saying

Comment from: Cici, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: October 31

I have had low grade fever for weeks, muscle weakness on my right leg, and barely been walking for weeks. I am confined to the house. Back of my neck is hot and very sore, and my eyes are blurry for as long as the fatigue is there. I have been living with lupus for more than 25 years. I never find help for this fatigue.

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Comment from: Alive, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 23

I was born with exstrophy of the bladder and associated anomalies (midline defect). The first five years of life was dealing with a primary closure process with extensive surgeries. From through 11 years of age an attempt was made to create normal physiology during which time it was observed that one ureter was longer than the other and surgery was performed to shorten it and connect to the 2nd one creating a 'Y' with only one going directly into the bladder. This and additional other tissue were set aside in the abdominal cavity for future re-creative development. It was that tissue that actually created additional internal problems as it created major adhesions to the small intestine causing digestive problems over the years. At the age 15 years, having developing major nephritis, the 15 years of constructive surgery was disconnected and an ileal conduit was created. At age 17 years I developed bacterial kidney stones which involved 81 days in the hospital going into each kidney twice and rebuilding ileal conduit. Result was having 5 surgeries in 4 1/2 months. From that point on kidney function declined, which resulted in a kidney transplant. From September to December 2000 I had both kidneys removed, one in October and one in November. Then I had dialysis for 10 weeks, and then transplant in December, ten hours on the operating table. Over all over 88 surgeries. Cumulative surgeries resulted in adhesions and chronic urinary infections and now chronic bowel blockage issues. I was hospitalized for 12 days in ICU for major blockage in large intestine. Hernias repaired throughout the years were totally seven. I had multi-surgeries from 2000 to 2008, totaling 8 surgeries. Additional degenerative conditions from reflex infections over the years with the onset of hypertension swelling, gout type arthritis, venous sinus thrombosis, sever migraine headaches, various drug reactions, continued to take their toll on the body and kidneys and other parts of the body severely limiting activity. When the adhesions are hurting I use heating pad, hot showers, stretching, massage, and eat small amounts at a time, vegetables, not meat. I walk everyday even if it is just 10 minutes and do meditation.

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Comment from: Tuhin, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 11

I have had psoriasis. I had psoriasis at 15 years, on my leg, hands and elbow, but it was never given that name by a doctor and 46 years later I still have that. I use some medicine like Dermasol ointment and taken antihistamine tablets. In the past 15 years I have inverse psoriasis in my groin area and arm pits. Medications work some but it is a constant battle.

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