Objective Evaluate evidence of the efficacy, safety, acceptability and cost-effectiveness of outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) models.
Design A systematic review.
Data sources MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, National Health Service (NHS) Economic Evaluation Database (EED), Research Papers in Economics (RePEc), Tufts Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) Registry, Health Business Elite, Health Information Management Consortium (HMIC), Web of Science Proceedings, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy website. Searches were undertaken from 1993 to 2015.
Study selection All studies, except case reports, considering adult patients or practitioners involved in the delivery of OPAT were included. Studies combining outcomes for adults and children or non-intravenous (IV) and IV antibiotic groups were excluded, as were those focused on process of delivery or clinical effectiveness of 1 antibiotic over another. Titles/abstracts were screened by 1 reviewer (20% verified). 2 authors independently screened studies for inclusion.
Results 128 studies involving >60 000 OPAT episodes were included. 22 studies (17%) did not indicate the OPAT model used; only 29 involved a comparator (23%). There was little difference in duration of OPAT treatment compared with inpatient therapy, and overall OPAT appeared to produce superior cure/improvement rates. However, when models were considered individually, outpatient delivery appeared to be less effective, and self-administration and specialist nurse delivery more effective. Drug side effects, deaths and hospital readmissions were similar to those for inpatient treatment, but there were more line-related complications. Patient satisfaction was high, with advantages seen in being able to resume daily activities and having greater freedom and control. However, most professionals perceived challenges in providing OPAT.
Conclusions There were no systematic differences related to the impact of OPAT on treatment duration or adverse events. However, evidence of its clinical benefit compared with traditional inpatient treatment is lacking, primarily due to the dearth of good quality comparative studies. There was high patient satisfaction with OPAT use but the few studies considering practitioner acceptability highlighted organisational and logistic barriers to its delivery.
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Contributors The review was designed by CCM, JM, JW and MT as part of a larger study. JW developed and ran the electronic searches. Data extraction tools were designed by EDM. EDM, CCM, DM and MT were involved in record screening and study selection. EDM and CCM undertook data abstraction and carried out assessment of risk of bias. EDM synthesised the data. The article was drafted by EDM, and all authors contributed to subsequent drafts. EDM is the guarantor.
Funding This work was supported by NIHR Health Services Research and Delivery (HSDR), Project reference 11/2003/60.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement No additional data are available.
Review registration This study is registered as PROSPERO CRD42013006374 (available at http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/).
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