Decreased meropenem levels in Intensive Care Unit patients with augmented renal clearance: benefit of therapeutic drug monitoring

Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2012 Oct;40(4):370-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2012.05.010. Epub 2012 Jul 11.


One of the first-line drugs for empirical antibiotic therapy in patients with hospital-acquired infections is meropenem. An often neglected problem in sepsis is that patients with a normal serum creatinine concentration (SCr) might display augmented renal clearance (ARC). Here we describe two cases of sepsis with subtherapeutic exposures with standard meropenem dosing in whom therapy could be optimised by therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM). A 37-year-old man with acute lymphatic leukaemia and sepsis had a normal SCr at the beginning of his Intensive Care Unit (ICU) stay but showed decreased SCr of between 30 μmol/L and 40 μmol/L during his stay. He failed to achieve effective plasma concentrations with the meropenem standard dose of 3 g/day. Estimated glomerular filtration rate revealed values between 120 mL/min and 160 mL/min. He required a high meropenem daily dosage of 12 g that was far above the approved maximum dose. A 66-year-old patient undergoing surgery of a pulmonary aspergilloma presented SCr persistently <50 μmol/L, indicating ARC between 120 mL/min and 150 mL/min. This patient required 8 g of meropenem to achieve effective plasma concentrations. TDM may represent an invaluable approach to optimising drug exposure of β-lactam antibiotics in patients with ARC in the ICU. Further trials are clearly needed to become better informed about empirical dosing regimens usable in the ICU setting with regard to the relevance of ARC. In the meantime, daily measurement of creatinine clearance as well as TDM can be used to identify patients who manifest ARC, thereby allowing drug therapy to achieve the therapeutic range.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Drug Monitoring / methods*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Meropenem
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Plasma / chemistry
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / complications
  • Sepsis / drug therapy*
  • Thienamycins / administration & dosage
  • Thienamycins / pharmacokinetics*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Thienamycins
  • Meropenem