Assessing the effect of piperacillin/tazobactam on hematological parameters in patients admitted with moderate or severe foot infections

Will Fry, Sean McCafferty, Catherine Gooday, Ian Nunney, Ketan K. Dhatariya

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Introduction: Piperacillin/tazobactam is a commonly used antibiotic for the empirical treatment of severe diabetic foot infections. One of the most feared complications of this drug is the development of pancytopenia. The aim of this study was to determine whether the use of piperacillin/tazobactam caused any hematological changes in patients admitted with severe diabetes-related foot infections from a specialist multidisciplinary foot clinic. Specifically, looking at whether it caused anemia, leukopenia, neutropenia, or thrombocytopenia.

Methods: A 1-year retrospective analysis of patients admitted to a tertiary care center for treatment of diabetes-related foot infection using piperacillin/tazobactam. Hematological indices, urea and electrolytes, and C-reactive protein (CRP) were recorded pretreatment, during treatment, and posttreatment. HbA1c, vitamin B12, folate, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and free thyroxin were also analyzed to exclude any potential confounders as a cause of pancytopenia.

Results: A total of 154 patients were admitted between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2016 who received piperacillin/tazobactam for severe diabetes-related foot infection. On admission, white cell count and CRP were raised and fell significantly within the first 48 h. Other hematological factors did not change. Five patients developed a mild pancytopenia, of which three were unexplained.

Conclusion: In this relatively small cohort, pancytopenia did not occur. As such, piperacillin/tazobactam appeared to have a low risk of adverse hematological outcomes and remains the treatment of choice for severe diabetes-related foot infections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-228
Number of pages10
JournalDiabetes Therapy
Issue number1
Early online date4 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • Diabetic foot infection
  • Piperacillin/tazobactam
  • Pancytopenia

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