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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 2 (1994), Issue 3, Pages 120-125
Clinical Study

Comparison of Short Vs. Long Half-Life Single-Dose Prophylactic Antibiotics for Cesarean Section

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston, TX, USA
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO, USA
3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Grace Hospital, 6071 W. Outer Drive, Detroit, MI 48235, USA

Received 12 April 1994; Accepted 6 July 1994

Copyright © 1994 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective: Numerous studies demonstrate the efficacy of antibiotic prophylaxis for reducing postcesarean section infectious morbidity. The duration of therapy, however, remains controversial. Cost containment measures and the ease of single dosing have led to the introduction of “extended” half-life agents for cesarean-section chemoprophylaxis. We tested the hypothesis that there was no difference in efficacy between a single dose of a short half-life agent (cefoxitin) and a longer half-life agent (cefotetan).

Methods: A prospective, double-blind trial of 375 non-elective cesarean-section cases was carried out. Study antibiotics (2 g) were administered intravenously (IV) at cord clamping only.

Results: Demographic and clinical variables between the 2 study groups were similar. No significant differences were noted in major or minor morbidity or in infectious morbidities for patients receiving the 2 prophylactic regimens. The occurrence of postoperative endometritis was likewise similar for the subjects receiving cefoxitin (10%) and cefotetan (15%). When cases whose surgery lasted >60 min were evaluated separately, no differences in outcomes between the 2 groups were identified

Conclusions: These findings confirm our hypothesis that the half-life difference between these 2 agents does not impact on single-dose Prophylactic efficacy in cesarean section.