Antibiotics Home > Dicloxacillin Uses
Dicloxacillin is an antibiotic prescribed to treat certain bacterial infections in adults and children. This medicine is specifically used when there is good reason to suspect that an infection is caused by bacteria that will be susceptible to this drug. This may involve having a "culture and sensitivity" test done. There are also some off-label uses for dicloxacillin, such as preventing any type of infection.
Dicloxacillin is a prescription antibiotic used to treat a variety of different infections. It is taken by mouth and can be used by adults and children. However, it is only available in capsule form, which may limit its usefulness in young children who usually cannot swallow capsules.
Dicloxacillin belongs to a group of medications known as penicillinase-resistant beta lactam antibiotics. It is meant for treating infections caused by Staphylococci bacteria that have developed resistance to most other penicillins by producing an enzyme known as penicillinase.
However, as is often the case, some bacteria have developed further resistance, and penicillinase-resistant beta lactam antibiotics are not effective against such bacteria. Most notably, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an example of a type of bacteria that is resistant to penicillinase-resistant beta lactam antibiotics, such as methicillin or dicloxacillin. Dicloxacillin should not be used to treat infections where MRSA is suspected.
Dicloxacillin should be used only when there is a very good reason to suspect that an infection is caused by bacteria that will be susceptible to the drug. The best way to know this is if a "culture and sensitivity" test has been done. However, this type of testing takes time (often a few days), so some sort of antibiotic must be started while waiting for the results.
Bacteria have different resistance patterns in different regions in the country. This means that some bacteria may be susceptible to dicloxacillin in certain parts of the country but not in others. Depending on the particular resistance patterns in your area, your healthcare provider might assume that any staph infection would be resistant to dicloxacillin, in which case a different antibiotic would be chosen first, until the culture and sensitivity results come back.
In many situations where a healthcare provider can accurately "guess" which type of bacteria is causing an infection, such as with a basic urinary tract infection (UTI), culture and sensitivity testing may not be performed at all. However, if such an infection does not clear up using the usual antibiotic based on the "best guess," then culture and sensitivity testing is a good idea.
In such situations, a person might be started on a different antibiotic and then switched to dicloxacillin. For instance, this drug is not normally used to treat UTIs. However, if culture and sensitivity testing was performed and the results showed that the bacteria was sensitive to dicloxacillin, a healthcare provider might switch a person to it.