Colistin and polymyxin B dosage regimens against Acinetobacter baumannii: differences in activity and the emergence of resistance

Soon-Ee Cheah, Jian Li, Brian T Tsuji, Alan Forrest, Jurgen B Bulitta, Roger Nation

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Infections caused by multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii are a major public health problem, and polymyxins are often the last line of therapy for recalcitrant infections by such isolates. The pharmacokinetics of the two clinically used polymyxins, polymyxin B and colistin, differ considerably, since colistin is administered as an inactive prodrug that undergoes slow conversion to colistin. However, the impact of these substantial pharmacokinetic differences on bacterial killing and resistance emergence is poorly understood. We assessed clinically relevant polymyxin B and colistin dosage regimens against one reference and three clinical A. baumannii strains in a dynamic one-compartment in vitro model. A new mechanism-based pharmacodynamic model was developed to describe and predict the drug concentrations and viable counts of the total and resistant populations. Rapid attainment of target concentrations was shown to be critical for polymyxin-induced bacterial killing. All polymyxin B regimens achieved peak concentrations of at least 1 mg/liter within 1 h and caused ≥4 log10 killing at 1 h. In contrast, the slow rise of colistin concentrations to 3 mg/liter over 48 h resulted in markedly reduced bacterial killing. A significant (4 to 6 log10 CFU/ml) amplification of resistant bacterial populations was common to all dosage regimens. The developed mechanism-based model explained the observed bacterial killing, regrowth, and resistance. The model also implicated adaptive polymyxin resistance as a key driver of bacterial regrowth and predicted the amplification of preexisting, highly polymyxin-resistant bacterial populations following polymyxin treatment. Antibiotic combination therapies seem the most promising option for minimizing the emergence of polymyxin resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3921-3933
Number of pages13
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016

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