Daptomycin: a novel agent for Gram-positive infections

Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 1999 Aug;8(8):1223-38. doi: 10.1517/13543784.8.8.1223.


The alarming increase in the incidence of Gram-positive infections, including those caused by resistant bacteria, has sparked renewed interest in novel antibiotics. One such agent is daptomycin, a novel lipopeptide antibiotic with proven bactericidal activity in vitro against all clinically relevant Gram-positive bacteria. These include resistant pathogens, such as vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), glycopeptide intermediately susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (GISA), coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) and penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae (PRSP), for which there are very few therapeutic alternatives. Daptomycin provides rapid, concentration-dependent killing and a relatively prolonged concentration-dependent post-antibiotic effect in vitro. Spontaneous acquisition of resistance to daptomycin occurs rarely. Daptomycin exhibits linear pharmacokinetics, minimal accumulation with once-daily dosing, and low plasma clearance and volume of distribution. Phase II clinical trials indicate that daptomycin at doses of 2 mg/kg q24 h and 3 mg/kg q12 h is efficacious against skin and soft tissue infections and bacteremia, respectively. In addition, results in endocarditis suggested potential efficacy with higher doses. On the basis of clinical trials to date, it appears that daptomycin has an excellent safety profile, with the incidence and nature of serious adverse events comparable to those observed with conventional therapy. Adverse events associated with other classes of antimicrobials (nephrotoxicity, local irritation, ototoxicity, hypersensitivity, and gastrointestinal effects) were uncommon with daptomycin. Minimal skeletal muscle toxicity was seen at only the highest dose tested (4 mg/kg q12 h), predicted by elevations in serum creatinine phosphokinase, and readily reversible upon discontinuation of treatment. There were no signs of toxicity in cardiac or smooth muscle. Phase II and III clinical trials are underway to evaluate daptomycin for the treatment of Gram-positive bacteremia and complicated skin and soft tissue infections, respectively. Daptomycin holds promise as a rapidly acting and highly effective antibiotic for Gram-positive infections.