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Old 06-10-2012, 02:31 PM   #1
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Strep not being cured after multiple antibiotics

I've been getting strep throat once a year for about 4-5 years (diagnosed with rapid strep test and treated with antibiotics). Always clears up. Last November I got it, and at the beginning of this May I got it again. I was also mistakenly treated for a sinus infection and did two rounds of Levaquin in February (radiologist and doctor misread harmless cyst in my sinus as an infection; ENT reviewed and told me it was nothing to worry about).

I'm allergic to penicillin, so I'm somewhat limited in what I can take. I started in early May with Cefdinir and that didn't work (strep test came back strongly positive after 11 days on it). Dr. gave me clindamycin. A day or so before I would be completing the course of clindamycin, I knew it wasn't working and so went immediately to an ENT. Strep test came back with a very faint line, but definitely there. He also diagnosed me with a sinus infection, and gave me a 10 day course of Bactrim. He also suggested getting my tonsils out, and I have surgery scheduled for the 28th (I also have tonsil stones, in addition to the strep). I finish the Bactrim in about 3 days, but as with the others drugs, I felt ok for a couple of days, and then I start again with swollen glands, feeling feverish (tho no fever), and feeling sweaty and exhausted. I've actually felt better the last two days, but now my throat is feeling swollen again, esp. right under my jaw, almost directly under my tongue, and I can feel the sinus congestion is back, even though I've been using nasal rinses. The redness at the back of my throat does seem better.

I'm feeling really defeated and exhausted and worried, wondering why these drugs aren't working. I'm missing a lot of work, too, which is stressful. Even my groin has some swollen lymph nodes! I've been disinfecting like crazy, changed toothbrushes, washing my hands obsessively, and I even have my cats on antibiotics, just in case they're carriers. I live alone, but do work with the public. However, no one else at work has gotten strep in the 5 years I've been there! Just me. I asked my GP about Mono, but she didn't think that was it and the ENT didn't even consider it.

Here are my questions: has anyone had strep they couldn't cure? If so, how was it handled? Is it possible to have your tonsils removed while still having a strep infection? I'm concerned that this infection will spread if I don't get the right antibiotic, or during surgery if they operate during an active infection.

I feel like I'm going bonkers and am at the end of my rope! Thank you for any help.

 
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:02 PM   #2
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Re: Strep not being cured after multiple antibiotics

Well, the first step for a stubborn infection is a sensitivity culture. Rather than just determining that it's strep, they take a swab and, in a petri dish, determine which antibiotics are the best at killing it.

Your doctor may not realize this, but the cephalosporins (such as Keflex) ARE an option. Back in the day, they believed that people who were allergic to penicillin were likely to react to Keflex, too, but recent studies have found that the feared "crossover" reaction almost never happens. If need be, they can patch-test you for Keflex allergy.

 
Old 06-10-2012, 09:15 PM   #3
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Re: Strep not being cured after multiple antibiotics

Thanks, janewhite1. The first drug I took was a cephalosporin (cefdinir, brand name Omnicef), and that didn't work (and I had no allergic reaction, either). I don't know why neither my GP or my ENT aren't testing for the particular strain - in fact, whenever I've tested positive for strep, they've never cultured it - but if it comes back positive when I get tested on Friday, I'll ask that they do that. But this is the first time a single course of antibiotics hasn't cured it.

Thanks again!

 
Old 06-11-2012, 01:10 PM   #4
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Re: Strep not being cured after multiple antibiotics

A regular culture is done to test for infection and try to figure out what kind. A sensitivity culture is different. They take drops of a whole bunch of antibiotics and put them on the culture to see what happens.

I'm not sure why this test isn't used more often, actually.

 
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strep, tonsil stones, tonsilectomy, tonsils



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