Cephalexin and cefadroxil are oral first-generation cephalosporins used to treat methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) infections. Despite its shorter half-life, cephalexin is more frequently prescribed, although cefadroxil is an appealing alternative, given its slower clearance and possibility for less frequent dosing. We report comparative MIC distributions for cefadroxil and cephalexin, as well as for oxacillin, cephalothin, ceftaroline, and cefazolin, for 48 unique clinical MSSA isolates from pediatric patients with musculoskeletal infections. Both cefadroxil and cephalexin had MIC50 values of 2 μg/mL and MIC90 values of 4 μg/mL. MIC50s for oxacillin, cephalothin, and ceftaroline were ≤0.25 μg/mL, and cefazolin's MIC50 was 0.5 μg/mL. While cefadroxil and cephalexin MICs are higher than those for other active agents, the distributions of MICs for cefadroxil and cephalexin are statistically equivalent, suggesting similar in vitro MSSA activities. Cefadroxil should be further considered an alternative agent to cephalexin, although additional work is needed to identify the optimal dose and frequency of these antibiotics for the treatment of serious MSSA infections. IMPORTANCE Cephalexin and cefadroxil are oral antibiotics that are used to treat serious infections due to the bacteria MSSA. While cephalexin is used more commonly, cefadroxil is excreted from the body more slowly; this generally allows patients to take cefadroxil less frequently than cephalexin. In this study, we compared the abilities of cefadroxil, cephalexin, and several other representative intravenous antibiotics to inhibit the growth of MSSA in the laboratory. Bacterial samples were obtained from children with bone, joint, and/or muscle infections caused by MSSA. We found that cefadroxil and cephalexin inhibited the growth of MSSA at similar concentrations, suggesting similar antibacterial potencies. The selected intravenous antistaphylococcal antibiotics generally inhibited bacterial growth with lower antibiotic concentrations. Based on these results, cefadroxil should be further considered an alternative oral antibiotic to cephalexin, although future research is needed to identify the optimal dose and frequency of these antibiotics for serious infections.
Keywords: MIC; MSSA; cefadroxil; cephalexin; musculoskeletal infection; pediatric.