Six patients with non-infected synovial effusions, associated either with inflammatory or degenerative arthropathy and requiring diagnostic or therapeutic aspiration, were given a short course of 400 mg metronidazole (Flagyl) 8-hourly for 3 doses. Serum and synovial fluid (SF) were sampled frequently during this time, and assayed for metronidazole by a specific high pressure liquid-chromatographic method. It was found that concentrations of metronidazole in SF reached those in serum after a short time-lag, and thereafter approximated to the serum concentration. With this regimen, metronidazole concentrations were readily achieved in synovial fluid, above the minimum inhibitory concentrations for most susceptible anaerobes. These results indicate that the drug freely enters the synovial fluid and suggests that metronidazole would prove effective in the treatment of septic arthritis due to anaerobic bacteria.
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