The therapeutic monitoring of antimicrobial agents

Evan J. Begg, Murray L. Barclay, Carl M.J. Kirkpatrick

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125 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To review the basis and optimal use of therapeutic drug monitoring of antimicrobial agents. Methods: Antimicrobial agents for which a reasonable case exists for therapeutic drug monitoring are reviewed under the following headings: pharmacokinetics, why monitor, therapeutic range, individualization of therapy, sampling times, methods of analysis, interpretative problems and cost-effectiveness of monitoring. Results: There is a strong historical case for monitoring aminoglycosides. The recent move to once-daily dosing means that criteria for therapeutic drug monitoring need to be redefined. Vancomycin has been monitored routinely but many questions remain about the most appropriate approach to this. A case can be made for monitoring teicoplanin, flucytosine and itraconazole in certain circumstances. Conclusions: The approach to monitoring aminoglycosides is being redefined in the light of once daily dosing. It may be that less stringent monitoring is required in some circumstances but toxicity, especially ototoxicity, remains a problem with these drugs. Monitoring to avoid high AUCs (areas under the concentration-time curve) is recommended. The ideal method for monitoring vancomycin remains to be defined although a reasonable case exists for measuring trough concentrations, mainly to ensure efficacy. Teicoplanin is sometimes monitored to ensure efficacy while flucytosine may be monitored to avoid high concentrations associated with toxicity. Itraconazole has various pharmacokinetic problems and monitoring has been suggested to ensure that adequate concentrations are achieved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Antimicrobial agents
  • Therapeutic drug monitoring

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