Home Intravenous Antibiotic Treatment for a Patient with Opioid Use Disorder

Daniel A. Solomon, Christin N. Price, and Nicholas Sadovnikoff,

The Journal of Clinical Ethics 30, no. 4 (Winter 2019): 356-9.

Intravenous drug abusers may incur bloodstream infections, in particular those involving the heart valves, that often require extended courses of antibiotics, commonly on the order of six weeks.
    Conventional wisdom has dictated that even when patients are sufficiently well to not need ongoing hospitalization, it is unsafe to complete their antibiotic course in any setting other than in a closely supervised facility, even if this is contrary to their wishes. The assumption has been that such patients would be at risk of using their indwelling intravenous catheter for illicit purposes. Recent advances in the care of patients who suffer from addiction disorders suggest that when patients receive state-of-the-art addiction treatment, many may be able to continue their intravenous antibiotic course unsupervised, at home. This represents a departure from the parentalistic model of care of impaired patients who are prone to self-harm, moving towards a model that respects autonomy and trusts patients who are in recovery to continue their care in a manner that is self-beneficial.



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