Outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy


When antibiotics are injected, it is called intravenous (IV) or parenteral therapy.

You may be suitable for our service if you're ready to go home from hospital but need more IV antibiotics. This could be for a few days or several months depending on your infection.

We'll give you antibiotics to take at home.

A community nurse will visit you at home every day to give you the antibiotic.

You may want to give yourself the antibiotic or ask a family member or friend to do it for you. We'll teach you or your family member or friend how to do this and assess you in hospital before you go home. We'll give you a supply of the antibiotics and anything else you need to give yourself the treatment when you leave hospital.

Receiving antibiotics at home means you'll be able to:

  • maintain your independence
  • be with your friends and family 
  • return to work

We'll give you at least 1 dose of your antibiotic in hospital to make sure that you do not develop a severe reaction.

We'll give you the antibiotic into your vein through a small, narrow, flexible tube called a catheter or IV line. The IV line is inserted into your vein using a needle. The needle is then removed and the IV line left in place and secured by a dressing.

We'll use different types of IV lines depending on your veins and how long you need the antibiotic for. We'll let you know which IV line we'll use for you and how you can take care of it. Before you leave hospital, we'll give you a plan for what to do if there are any issues with the IV line.

Occasionally the IV line can become blocked or an infection can develop. Please contact us if you develop:

  • a rash
  • diarrhoea
  • fever or a high temperature
  • pain, redness or swelling around the IV line
  • blocked IV line

Health information

NHS website: antibiotics

Last updated: November 2023

Contact us

If you're having any issues with your IV line, experiencing any side effects from your medicines or have any questions, please call us.

OPAT nurse phone: 020 7188 8641

IV team phone: 020 7188 5218

Mobile: 07871 106899

We answer the phone from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Outside of these hours, please phone 020 7188 7188 and ask to speak to the on-call microbiology registrar.

Address: chest clinic, 2nd floor, Bermondsey Wing, Guy’s Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9RT

The outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy clinic is held every Wednesday, 9am to 12:30pm.

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Is this page useful?