Optimization of anti-pseudomonal antibiotics for cystic fibrosis pulmonary exacerbations: I. aztreonam and carbapenems

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2012 Dec;47(12):1147-58. doi: 10.1002/ppul.22655. Epub 2012 Aug 21.


Acute pulmonary exacerbations (APE) in cystic fibrosis (CF) are associated with loss of lung function that may require aggressive management with intravenous antibiotics. The aim of this review is to provide an evidence-based summary of pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD), tolerability, and efficacy studies utilizing aztreonam and anti-pseudomonal carbapenems (i.e., doripenem, imipenem-cilastatin, and meropenem) in the treatment of an APE, and to identify areas where further study is warranted. The current dosing recommendations in the United States and Europe for aztreonam are lower than the literature supported dosing range of 200-300 mg/kg/day divided every 6 hr, maximum 8-12 g/day. In vitro, PK/PD, and tolerability studies show the potential of doripenem 90 mg/kg/day divided every 8 hr, infused over 4 hr, maximum 6 g/day in the treatment of APE. Imipenem-cilastatin 100 mg/kg/day divided every 6 hr, maximum 4 g/day and meropenem 120 mg/kg/day divided every 8 hr, maximum 6 g/day have been shown to be tolerable and effective in the treatment of APE. With availability issues of new anti-pseudomonal agents and a large percentage of CF patients will not regain their lung function following an APE, we suggest the need to determine optimization of aztreonam and meropenem dosing in CF, as well as to determine the clinical efficacy of doripenem in the treatment of APE. The usefulness of imipenem-cilastatin may be limited due to the rapid development of resistance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aztreonam / therapeutic use*
  • Carbapenems / therapeutic use*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Pseudomonas Infections / complications
  • Pseudomonas Infections / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Carbapenems
  • Aztreonam