Fosfomycin for the initial treatment of acute haematogenous osteomyelitis

Arch Dis Child. 2003 Jun;88(6):512-6. doi: 10.1136/adc.88.6.512.


Background and aims: At our institution there has been a dichotomous antimicrobial treatment behaviour for acute haematogenous osteomyelitis (AHOM) since 1984. The surgical department favoured fosfomycin as initial choice and the medical department beta lactams. We aimed to compare the performance of both strategies.

Methods: Data from patients discharged with the diagnosis of AHOM between January 1984 and January 1998 were gathered from the charts by means of a questionnaire. Patients receiving fosfomycin treatment (FT) were compared with those receiving fosfomycin plus other antimicrobials (FT+) and those receiving no fosfomycin treatment (NFT).

Results: A total of 103 patients aged 0.1-15.5 years (mean 6.5, median 6.9) with AHOM received no surgical treatment initially. In 23 (22.3%) FT was instilled initially, in 47 (45.6%) FT+, and in 33 (32.0%) NFT. The pathogen was established in 30%, 36%, and 42% of FT, FT+, and NFT patients, respectively, Staphylococcus aureus being the predominant isolate. Mean C reactive protein levels and erythrocyte sedimentation rates normalised in all treatment groups after two and four weeks, respectively. The mean duration of intravenous antimicrobial treatment in FT patients was 2.5 weeks, in FT+ patients 3.1 weeks, and in NFT patients 3.8 weeks (p < 0.05), whereas the mean duration of intravenous plus oral treatment was comparable (7.1 v 6.8 v 6.5 weeks).

Conclusions: The leucocyte penetrating fosfomycin performed similarly to extracellular beta lactams in the treatment of AHOM. Intravenous treatment for longer than 2.5 weeks offered no advantage.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacteremia / drug therapy
  • Bone and Bones / microbiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fosfomycin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lactams
  • Male
  • Osteomyelitis / drug therapy*
  • Osteomyelitis / microbiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Staphylococcus / isolation & purification


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Lactams
  • Fosfomycin