Relationship between initial vancomycin concentration-time profile and nephrotoxicity among hospitalized patients

Clin Infect Dis. 2009 Aug 15;49(4):507-14. doi: 10.1086/600884.


Background: Data suggest that higher doses of vancomycin can increase the risk of nephrotoxicity. No study has been undertaken to determine the pharmacodynamic index (ie, the area under the curve [AUC] or the trough value) that best describes the relationship between vancomycin exposure and onset of nephrotoxicity.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted among patients who received vancomycin for a suspected or proven gram-positive infection during the period from 1 January 2005 through 31 December 2006 at Albany Medical Center Hospital. Patients were included in our study if they (1) were > or =18 years old, (2) had an absolute neutrophil count of > or =1000 cells/mm(3), (3) received vancomycin for >48 h, (4) had 1 vancomycin trough level collected within 96 h of vancomycin therapy, and (5) had a baseline serum creatinine level of <2.0 mg/dL. Patients were excluded if they (1) had a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis, (2) received intravenous contrast dye within 7 days of starting vancomycin or during therapy, or (3) required vasopressor support during therapy. Demographics, comorbid conditions, and treatment data were collected. The highest observed vancomycin trough value within 96 h of initiation of vancomycin therapy and the estimated vancomycin AUC were analyzed as measures of vancomycin exposure. The vancomycin AUC value from 0 to 24 h at steady state (in units of mg x h/L) for each patient was estimated by use of the maximum a posteriori probability Bayesian procedure in ADAPT II. Nephrotoxicity was defined as an increase in serum creatinine level of 0.5 mg/dL or 50%, whichever was greater, following initiation of vancomycin therapy. Logistic and Cox proportional hazards regression models identified the vancomycin pharmacodynamic index that best describes the relationship between vancomycin exposure and toxicity.

Results: During the study period, 166 patients met the inclusion criteria. Both initial vancomycin trough values and 0-24-h at steady state AUC values were associated with nephrotoxicity in the bivariate analyses. However, the vancomycin trough value, modeled as a continuous variable, was the only vancomycin exposure variable associated with nephrotoxicity in the multivariate analyses.

Conclusions: The results indicate that a vancomycin exposure-toxicity response relationship exists. The vancomycin trough value is the pharmacodynamic index that best describes this association.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York
  • Plasma / chemistry*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Vancomycin / adverse effects*
  • Vancomycin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Vancomycin / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Vancomycin
  • Creatinine