Dutch team devise less painful ‘drip and drink’ antibiotics treatment for babies

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A Dutch team of medical researchers has found a less invasive way of administering antibiotics to newborns with a bacterial infection in the biggest trial of its kind.

The new treatment, devised by researchers at the Erasmus MC and Franciscus Gasthuis & Vlietland, means that the proscribed seven day intravenous antibiotics cure can be shortened to two, followed up with a liquid oral antibiotic to be administered at home.

The method, published on Friday in medical journal Child & Adolescent Health has proved to be safe and effective, is less physically painful for the child and less of an emotional burden for parents, researchers said.

It is the first time a trial has involved this many babies. More than 500 babies in 17 Dutch hospitals participated, with half given the complete intravenous cure and half given the combined drip and drink treatment.

‘No matter how careful the nurses are, it took five tries to get the drip in place,’ said Simone Kohne, whose daughter Fay had an infection and was part of the trial’s conventional treatment group. ‘In the end they put it in her ankle. But then it’s time for a new nappy and the drip falls out,’ she told broadcaster NOS.

‘We have seen in the trial that parents are able to administer the drink safely and effectively,’ researcher Fleur Keij said

An added bonus is that the new treatment plan cuts back on hospital costs, Keij said. The home treatment will, however, have to be closely monitored by pediatricians and family doctors and midwives will need extra training.

Keij said the treatment is set to be adopted by hospitals across the country.

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