UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Combined Use of Gentamicin and Silver Nitrate in Bone Cement for a Synergistic and Extended Antibiotic Action against Gram-Positive and Gram-Negative Bacteria Jackson, John; Lo, Joey; Hsu, Eric; Burt, Helen Mary, 1954-; Shademani, Ali; Lange, Dirk (Microbiologist)


Using bone cement as a carrier, gentamicin was for years the default drug to locally treat orthopedic infections but has lost favor due to increasing bacterial resistance to this drug. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of combining gentamicin with silver nitrate in bone cement against S. aureus and P. aeruginosa. Antibacterial effects (CFU counts) of gentamicin and silver were initially studied followed by studies using subtherapeutic concentrations of each in combination. The release rates from cement were measured over 10 days and day 7 release samples were saved and analyzed for antibiotic activity. A strong synergistic effect of combining silver with gentamicin was found using both dissolved drugs and using day 7 bone cement release media for both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. The cement studies were extended to vancomycin and tobramycin, which are also used in bone cement, and similar synergistic effects were found for day 7 release media with P. aeruginosa but not S. aureus. These studies conclude that the combined use of low loadings of gentamicin and silver nitrate in bone cement may offer an economical and much improved synergistic method of providing anti-infective orthopedic treatments in the clinic.

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