Cefepime-associated thrombocytopenia in a critically ill patient

Int J Clin Pharm. 2011 Dec;33(6):902-4. doi: 10.1007/s11096-011-9571-5. Epub 2011 Oct 7.


Case: Cefepime-induced thrombocytopenia is a rare adverse event (incidence <1.0%), based on data from clinical trials. However, there is limited post-marketing surveillance documentation on thrombocytopenia associated with cefepime. We describe a 45-year-old male who was admitted to the intensive care unit after allegedly being hit by a large metal bar in the right upper chest and shoulder. Rhabdomyolysis secondary to the trauma, pneumothorax, acute renal failure, and nosocomial sepsis were subsequently diagnosed. Four days after intravenous cefepime initiation, the patient developed thrombocytopenia with platelet count dropping from 102 × 10(3)/μL to 15 × 10(3)/μL. Cefepime was discontinued and the platelet count normalized to 140 × 10(3)/μL after 6 days. Use of the Naranjo adverse drug reaction probability scale indicated a possible relationship between the patient's thrombocytopenia and cefepime therapy.

Conclusion: Although cefepime-induced thrombocytopenia is rare, clinicians should be alert to this potential adverse effect among critically ill patients.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cefepime
  • Cephalosporins / adverse effects*
  • Cephalosporins / therapeutic use
  • Critical Illness
  • Cross Infection / complications
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumothorax / etiology
  • Rhabdomyolysis / complications
  • Rhabdomyolysis / etiology
  • Sepsis / complications
  • Thrombocytopenia / chemically induced*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cephalosporins
  • Cefepime