Piperacillin/tazobactam is a beta-lactam/beta-lactamase inhibitor combination with a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity against most Gram-positive and Gram-negative aerobic bacteria and anaerobic bacteria. Piperacillin/tazobactam is effective and well-tolerated in patients with lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI), intra-abdominal infections, skin and soft tissue infections, and febrile neutropenia. In comparative clinical trials against various other antibacterial regimens, piperacillin/tazobactam has shown higher clinical success rates, particularly in the treatment of patients with intra-abdominal infections and febrile neutropenia. Cost analyses of piperacillin/tazobactam have been variable, in part, because of differences in specific costs included. Three US cost analyses found that piperacillin/tazobactam had lower total medical costs than clindamycin plus gentamicin or imipenem/cilastatin in intra-abdominal infections, and ticarcillin/ clavulanic acid in community-acquired pneumonia. Piperacillin/tazobactam plus amikacin had lower total costs than ceftazidime plus amikacin in another cost analysis of patients with febrile neutropenic episodes modelled in nine European countries. However, piperacillin/tazobactam plus tobramycin was more costly than ceftazidime plus tobramycin in hospital-acquired pneumonia in a US cost analysis. In cost-effectiveness analyses, all studies of intra-abdominal infections, pneumonia and febrile neutropenic episodes consistently reported lower costs per unit of effectiveness versus comparators. Piperacillin/tazobactam was dominant (greater efficacy and lower costs) versus imipenem/cilastatin in intra-abdominal infections and ceftriaxone, ciprofloxacin or meropenem in pneumonia. Piperacillin/tazobactam plus amikacin was dominant over ceftazidime plus amikacin in the treatment of febrile neutropenic episodes. In a cost-effectiveness analysis of skin and soft tissue infection, piperacillin/tazobactam had lower costs per successfully treated patient than ceftriaxone or cefotaxime, but a slightly higher cost-effectiveness ratio than amoxicillin/clavulanic acid. All cost-effectiveness analyses were based on decision-analytical models.
Conclusions: Piperacillin/tazobactam is likely to reduce overall treatment costs of moderate to severe bacterial infections by increasing initial treatment success, thereby reducing the length of hospital stay and the use of additional antibacterials. Piperacillin/tazobactam has shown clinical and economic advantages over standard antibacterial regimens in the treatment of intra-abdominal infections, LRTIs, febrile episodes in patients with neutropenia, and skin and soft tissue infections, although more complete published data are needed to confirm these results. Present data regarding clinical efficacy, bacterial resistance and costs would support the use of piperacillin/tazobactam as an empirical first-line option in moderate to severe bacterial infections.