Clinically relevant concentrations of fosfomycin combined with polymyxin B, tobramycin or ciprofloxacin enhance bacterial killing of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, but do not suppress the emergence of fosfomycin resistance

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Objectives: Fosfomycin resistance occurs rapidly with monotherapy. This study systematically investigated bacterial killing and emergence of fosfomycin resistance with fosfomycin combinations against Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Methods: Four clinical isolates and a reference strain of P. aeruginosa were employed. Combinations of fosfomycin plus polymyxin B, tobramycin or ciprofloxacin were examined over 24 h using time-kill studies (inocula ~106 cfu/mL) incorporating clinically relevant concentrations (fosfomycin, 30, 150 or 300 mg/L; polymyxin B, 0.5, 1 or 2 mg/L; tobramycin, 0.5, 1.5 or 4 mg/L; ciprofloxacin, 0.5, 1 or 2.5 mg/L). Microbiological response was examined by log changes and population analysis profiles. Results: Against susceptible isolates, monotherapy produced varying degrees of initial killing followed by rapid regrowth. Fosfomycin plus polymyxin B or tobramycin produced greater initial killing (up to ~4 log10 cfu/mL) with many concentrations compared with monotherapy against fosfomycin-susceptible (FOFS) isolates. With these combinations, synergy or additivity was observed in 54 (67%) and 49 (60%) of 81 cases (nine combinations across three isolates at three timepoints) for polymyxin B and tobramycin, respectively. Substantial improvements in killing were absent against fosfomycin-resistant (FOFR) isolates. For fosfomycin/ciprofloxacin combinations, synergy or additivity was observed against FOFR isolates in 33 of 54 (61%) cases (nine combinations across two isolates at three timepoints), while improvements in killing were largely absent against FOFS isolates. No combination prevented emergence of fosfomycin resistance. Conclusions: Against P. aeruginosa, fosfomycin in combination with polymyxin B or tobramycin (FOFS isolates) or ciprofloxacin (FOFR isolates) increased bacterial killing, but did not suppress emergence of fosfomycin resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2218-2229
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016

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