One measure used to prevent overwhelming sepsis due to Streptococcus pneumoniae in children with defective splenic function is oral penicillin prophylaxis. However, a frequently cited argument against this approach is the likelihood of poor compliance. Compliance was studied by examining urine specimens for penicillin by the Sarcina lutea disc diffusion technique in 22 surgically asplenic children, two patients following bone marrow transplantation, and 38 infants and young children with sickle cell disease. Multiple specimens (mean 3.5 per patient) were examined in 43 of the children. Overall, 125/188 (66%) of the urine samples contained penicillin, indicating compliance within the previous 12 to 24 hours. Compliance tended to improve on subsequent clinic visits. These relatively good results were attributed to an intensive educational program in which repetitive efforts are made to counsel patients and parents about the risks of life-threatening infection. Poor compliance should no longer be invoked as a reason not to study the efficacy of prophylactic penicillin in functionally or surgically asplenic subjects.
- Received February 19, 1982.
- Accepted March 2, 1982.
- Copyright © 1982 by the American Academy of Pediatrics