Review Article| Volume 22, ISSUE 1, P50-55.e6, January 2021

Subcutaneous Antibiotic Therapy: The Why, How, Which Drugs and When



      To describe the rationale for subcutaneous (SC) administration of antibiotics from available published data and to make propositions to help clinicians in daily practice.


      Narrative review.

      Setting and Participants

      Hospitalized patients, persons in long-term care facilities and ambulatory care.


      We searched the MEDLINE/PubMed electronic database for evidence supporting SC administration of antibiotics up to September 2019; the results of this primary search were supplemented by searching the references of the identified articles, as well as by searching in Google Scholar.


      Regarding tolerability, efficacy, and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic profiles, most studies suggest that the SC route could be an alternative to the intravenous route, particularly for time-dependent antibiotics and among certain patient populations, such as patients with poor venous access, swallowing disorders, or behavioral disturbance. However, clinical evidence of the benefits and risks of SC antibiotic administration is still scarce and of low level.

      Conclusions and Implications

      SC administration of antibiotics may be useful in various settings such as in hospitalized patients and among those in long-term care facilities or being cared for at home. However, further clinical studies are needed to assess the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic properties, as well as the risks and benefits of SC administration of antibiotics. In this review, we highlight the potential benefits of SC administration of antibiotics and address practical recommendations for its use. This information will enable improvement of treatment strategies and present the SC route as a potential option in specific situations.


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