A novel way of treating multidrug‑resistant enterococci

Hem Desai, Ryan Wong, Ahmed Khurshid Pasha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Context: Daptomycin is the only antibiotic available with in vitro bactericidal activity against vancomycin‑resistant enterococci (VRE). Its increased use has resulted in cases of decreased daptomycin efficacy. Recent in vitro studies have shown effective use of beta (β)‑lactam and daptomycin antibiotics, as a combination therapy, in the treatment of VRE. We describe a case of effective treatment in a patient with VRE infection using dual ampicillin and daptomycin therapy that shows bench‑to‑bedside application of the abovementioned finding. Case Report: A 76‑year‑old gentleman with a history of bilateral arthroplasty was admitted with a swollen left knee. Blood cultures were positive for Enterococcus faecium. Left knee joint aspiration showed leukocytosis and alpha defensins. Extensive imaging did not show any other source of infection. Culture sensitivity results showed multidrug‑resistant enterococci sensitive to daptomycin. The patient was started on intravenous (IV) daptomycin. His left knee prosthesis was explanted and a spacer was placed. The patient continued to be bacteremic for 10 days after removing the knee prosthesis. The patient was trialed on combination IV ampicillin and daptomycin. His blood culture turned negative 2 days later. The patient was discharged home to continue 6 weeks of IV ampicillin and daptomycin. Conclusion: The exact mechanism of the daptomycin/ampicillin synergy effect is unclear. Current hypothesis suggests that ampicillin causes a reduction in the net positive charge of the bacterial surface, possibly by releasing lipoteichoic acid (LTA) from the cell wall. This process increases the ability of the cationic daptomycin/calcium complex to bind to the cell wall more effectively. Our case shows the clinical application of the same. A prospective randomized control trial to explore the effectiveness of dual antibiotic therapy in vivo is needed. If proven, daptomycin/β‑lactam can become a standard of care to treat VRE and decrease daptomycin nonsusceptibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-231
Number of pages3
JournalNorth American Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 North American Journal of Medical Sciences.


  • Daptomycin nonsusceptibility
  • Daptomycin/beta (β)‑lactam
  • Vancomycin‑resistant enterococci


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