The efficacy of ticarcillin-clavulanic acid was compared with the efficacies of standard antistaphylococcal agents (flucloxacillin, oxacillin, nafcillin, and vancomycin) and ticarcillin in an experimental model of Staphylococcus aureus endocarditis. Therapy was either initiated soon (8 h) after infection, when numbers of bacteria in aortic valve vegetations were relatively low (approximately 6 to 8 log10 CFU/g), or delayed until 24 h after infection, when the vegetations usually contained greater than 9 log10 CFU/g. Doses of the antibiotic were selected to produce peak concentrations in rat serum similar to those achievable in humans after administration of parenteral therapeutic doses. Ticarcillin-clavulanic acid was more effective overall than ticarcillin alone against endocarditis caused by beta-lactamase-producing strains of S. aureus, illustrating the beta-lactamase-inhibitory activity of clavulanic acid in vivo. Ticarcillin-clavulanic acid was as effective as the standard antistaphylococcal beta-lactam agents flucloxacillin, oxacillin, and nafcillin in these infections, whereas vancomycin was generally less active. These results illustrate the clinical potential of ticarcillin-clavulanic acid in the prophylaxis or therapy of severe staphylococcal infections
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