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Background: The pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) relationship for polymyxin B against Klebsiella pneumoniae infections is not known. Methods: Dose-fractionation studies with subcutaneous polymyxin B were conducted in neutropenic mice in which infection with three strains of K. pneumoniae had been produced in thighs or lungs. Dosing (thigh infection 0.5-120 mg/kg/day; lung infection 5-120 mg/kg/day) commenced 2 h after inoculation, and bacterial burden was measured 24 h later. Plasma exposure measures for unbound polymyxin B were from population pharmacokinetic analysis of single doses and plasma protein binding by ultracentrifugation. The inhibitory sigmoid dose-effect model was employed to determine the relationship between exposure and efficacy. Antibacterial activities of polymyxin B and colistin against thigh infection were compared at equimolar doses generating exposures resulting in maximal antibacterial activity. Results: The pharmacokinetics of polymyxin B were well described by a model comprising parallel linear and saturable pathways for absorption and elimination. Plasma binding of polymyxin B was constant (P > 0.05) over the range ∼0.9-37 mg/L; average (±SD) percentage bound was 91.4 ± 1.65. In thigh infection, antibacterial effect was well correlated with fAUC/MIC (R2 = 0.89). Target values of fAUC/MIC for stasis and 1 log10 kill were 1.22-13.5 and 3.72-28.0, respectively; 2 log10 kill was not achieved for any strain, even at the highest tolerated dose. There was no difference (P > 0.05) in antibacterial activity between polymyxin B and colistin with equimolar doses. It was not possible to achieve stasis in lung infection, even at the highest dose tolerated by mice. Conclusions: The results will assist in the design of optimized dosage regimens of polymyxin B.
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