Continuous-infusion antipseudomonal Beta-lactam therapy in patients with cystic fibrosis

P T. 2011 Nov;36(11):723-63.


Objective: We sought to evaluate the pharmacokinetics, efficacy, safety, stability, pharmacoeconomics, and quality-of-life effects of continuous-infusion antipseudomonal beta-lactam therapy in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF).

Data sources: Literature retrieval was accessed through Medline (from 1950 to December 2010) using the following terms: cystic fibrosis; beta-lactams or piperacillin or ticarcillin or cefepime or ceftazidime or doripenem or meropenem or imipenem/cilastin or aztreonam; continuous infusion or constant infusion; drug stability; economics, pharmaceutical; and quality of life. In addition, reference citations from identified publications were reviewed.

Study selection and data extraction: We evaluated all articles in English identified from the data sources.

Data synthesis: Patients with CF often harbor colonies of multidrug-resistant organisms, increasing the risk of suboptimal dosing and failure to meet the time above the minimum inhibitory concentration (T > MIC) pharmacodynamic targets. The pharmacokinetics of continuous-infusion antipseudomonal beta-lactam therapy in CF maintains serum concentrations above the MIC of susceptible strains and is more likely than intermittent infusion to achieve optimal T > MIC targets for some intermediate and resistant strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Three noncomparative and four comparative studies have assessed the efficacy and safety of continuous-infusion antipseudomonal beta-lactam therapy during CF pulmonary exacerbations. Ceftazidime, the most extensively studied antibiotic for continuous infusion in CF, has been shown to improve forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV(1)), to improve forced vital capacity (FVC), and to extend the time between pulmonary exacerbations. Continuous-infusion cefepime has been studied in a small number of patients, and a trend toward improved pulmonary function has been observed. Continuous-infusion antipseudomonal beta-lactam therapy appears to be well tolerated, although most of the data pertain to ceftazidime. Because continuous infusion may necessitate that patients wear a portable pump in close proximity to the body, the stability of the antibiotic at body temperature must be considered. Several beta-lactams have good stability at body temperature (piperacillin/tazobactam, ticarcillin/clavulanate, and aztreonam) or acceptable if the medication cartridge is changed twice daily (cefepime and doripenem), whereas other beta-lactams have acceptable 24-hour stability only at lower temperatures (cefepime, ceftazidime, doripenem, and meropenem). Although no pharmacoeconomic studies have evaluated the cost-benefit of continuous infusion versus intermittent infusion in patients with CF, the potential medication cost reduction appears to be considerable. There is little information regarding the impact of continuous infusion on quality of life in patients with CF.

Conclusion: Efficacy and safety studies suggest that ceftazidime, administered as a continuous infusion for the treatment of CF pulmonary exacerbations, is safe and effective; has the potential to reduce the costs of treatment; and is preferred to intermittent infusion among patients treated at home. Continuous-infusion ceftazidime may therefore be an alternative to traditional dosing on a case-by-case basis, such as for patients with multidrug-resistant isolates of P. aeruginosa. Treatment with continuous-infusion ceftazidime at home may be considered in such a case, assuming resources and support equivalent to the hospital setting can be ensured. Additional studies assessing the safety and efficacy of other antipseudomonal beta-lactams, when administered as a continuous infusion, during CF pulmonary exacerbations are needed.

Keywords: beta-lactam; continuous infusion; cystic fibrosis; infectious disease; intermittent infusion; monobactam; pulmonary; pulmonary exacerbation.