Continuous cefazolin infusion to treat bone and joint infections: clinical efficacy, feasibility, safety, and serum and bone concentrations

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2009 Mar;53(3):883-7. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00389-08. Epub 2008 Dec 15.


Cefazolin has been used for many years to treat bone and joint infections. Because of its time-dependent antimicrobial activity, continuous infusion would potentially be beneficial. We report on the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of prolonged continuous intravenous cefazolin therapy in a cohort of 100 patients, their serum cefazolin levels, and the concomitant bone cefazolin concentrations in 8 of them. This retrospective cohort study included all the patients treated for bone or joint infection with a continuous cefazolin infusion administered over a 12-h period twice daily for >or=2 weeks. Drug monitoring was performed at least twice for all the patients. Serum and bone cefazolin concentrations were determined by standardized disk diffusion microbiological assays. The absence of clinical, biological, and radiological signs of infection after 2 years of follow-up and the same criteria after 1 year of follow-up defined cures and probable cures, respectively. The median treatment duration was 42 days, and the median daily cefazolin dose was 6 g. Half of the patients received parenteral antibiotic therapy on an outpatient basis. Two moderate-grade adverse events were observed. The median serum cefazolin concentrations were 63 microg/ml (range, 13 to 203 microg/ml) and 57 microg/ml (range, 29 to 128 microg/ml) on days 2 to 10 and days 11 to 21, respectively. The median bone cefazolin concentration reached 13.5 microg/g (range, 3.5 to 29 microg/g). The median bone concentration/serum concentration ratio was 0.25 (range, 0.06 to 0.41). Among 88 patients with a median follow-up of 25 months (range, 12 to 53 months), 52 were considered cured and 29 were considered probably cured. Thus, the treatment of bone and joint infections with a prolonged continuous intravenous cefazolin infusion was feasible, effective, well-tolerated, safe, and convenient, making it a strong candidate for home therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / blood*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Cefazolin / administration & dosage*
  • Cefazolin / adverse effects
  • Cefazolin / blood*
  • Cefazolin / therapeutic use
  • Cohort Studies
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cefazolin