Background: Exotoxins are important virulence factors in Staphylococcus aureus. Clindamycin, a protein synthesis inhibitor antibiotic, is thought to limit exotoxin production and improve outcomes in severe S. aureus infections. However, randomised prospective data to support this are lacking.
Methods: An open-label, multicentre, randomised controlled trial (RCT) will compare outcome differences in severe S. aureus infection between standard treatment (flucloxacillin/cefazolin in methicillin-susceptible S. aureus; and vancomycin/daptomycin in methicillin-resistant S. aureus) and standard treatment plus an additional clindamycin given for 7 days. We will include a minimum of 60 participants (both adult and children) in the pilot study. Participants will be enrolled within 72 h of an index culture. Severe infections will include septic shock, necrotising pneumonia, or multifocal and non-contiguous skin and soft tissue/osteoarticular infections. Individuals who are immunosuppressed, moribund, with current severe diarrhoea or Clostridiodes difficile infection, pregnant, and those with anaphylaxis to β-lactams or lincosamides will be excluded.
The primary outcomes measure is the number of days alive and free (1 or 0) of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) within the first 14 days post randomisation. The secondary outcomes measure will include all-cause mortality at 14, 42, and 90 days, time to resolution of SIRS, proportion with microbiological treatment failure, and rate of change of C-reactive protein over time. Impacts of inducible clindamycin resistance, strain types, methicillin susceptibility, and presence of various exotoxins will also be analysed.
Discussion: This study will assess the effect of adjunctive clindamycin on patient-centred outcomes in severe, toxin-mediated S. aureus infections. The pilot study will provide feasibility for a much larger RCT.