Busting the Myth of "Static vs Cidal": A Systemic Literature Review.

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We sought to determine if clinical data validate the dogma that bactericidal antibiotics are more clinically effective than bacteriostatic agents. We performed a systematic literature review of published, randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) that compared a bacteriostatic agent to a bactericidal agent in the treatment of clinical, bacterial infections. Of 56 identified trials published since 1985, 49 found no significant difference in efficacy between bacteriostatic and bactericidal agents. In 6 trials it was found that the bacteriostatic agent was superior to the bactericidal agent in efficacy. Only 1 trial found that the bactericidal agent was superior; in that case, the inferiority of the static agent was explainable by underdosing of the drug based on pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic analysis. Thus, virtually all available data from high-quality, RCTs demonstrate no intrinsic superiority of bactericidal compared to bacteriostatic agents. Other drug characteristics such as optimal dosing, pharmacokinetics, and tissue penetration may be more important efficacy drivers.

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