Continuous infusion of beta-lactam antibiotics in severe sepsis: a multicenter double-blind, randomized controlled trial

Joel Dulhunty, Jason A Roberts, Joshua S Davis, Steven A R Webb, Rinaldo Bellomo, Charles Gomersall, Charudatt Shirwadkar, Glenn M Eastwood, John A Myburgh, David Paterson, Jeff Lipman

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Abstract

Background. Beta-lactam antibiotics are a commonly used treatment for severe sepsis, with intermittent bolus dosing standard therapy, despite a strong theoretical rationale for continuous administration. The aim of this trial was to determine the clinical and pharmacokinetic differences between continuous and intermittent dosing in patients with severe sepsis.Methods. This was a prospective, double-blind, randomized controlled trial of continuous infusion versus intermittent bolus dosing of piperacillin-tazobactam, meropenem, and ticarcillin-clavulanate conducted in 5 intensive care units across Australia and Hong Kong. The primary pharmacokinetic outcome on treatment analysis was plasma antibiotic concentration above the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) on days 3 and 4. The assessed clinical outcomes were clinical response 7-14 days after study drug cessation, ICU-free days at day 28 and hospital survival.Results. Sixty patients were enrolled with 30 patients each allocated to the intervention and control groups. Plasma antibiotic concentrations exceeded the MIC in 82 of patients (18 of 22) in the continuous arm versus 29 (6 of 21) in the intermittent arm (P =. 001). Clinical cure was higher in the continuous group (70 vs 43 ; P =. 037), but ICU-free days (19.5 vs 17 days; P =. 14) did not significantly differ between groups. Survival to hospital discharge was 90 in the continuous group versus 80 in the intermittent group (P =. 47).Conclusions. Continuous administration of beta-lactam antibiotics achieved higher plasma antibiotic concentrations than intermittent administration with improvement in clinical cure. This study provides a strong rationale for further multicenter trials with sufficient power to identify differences in patient-centered endpoints.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236 - 244
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Volume56
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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