Switching from intravenous to oral antimicrobials

For patients with a severe infection, it may be preferable to give intravenous (IV) antimicrobial treatment initially.

If your patient is clinically improving and can adequately absorb oral medicines, they may be suitable to be switched early to oral administration. This is known as the IV to oral switch.

Read our Early intravenous (IV) to oral switch guideline [PDF 334.63 KB] to learn more. The guideline includes patient eligibility criteria, a clinical decision making flowchart and a dosing conversion table.


Switching your patient from IV to oral treatment has many benefits including:

  • less risk of infection from IV lines
  • less risk of inflamed or swollen veins (thrombophlebitis)
  • helping patients get discharged from hospital sooner.

Oral antimicrobial treatment is also more cost effective than IV treatment.

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Last updated: June 2024