Acute pulmonary exacerbations (APE) are well-described complications of cystic fibrosis (CF) and are associated with progressive morbidity and mortality. Despite aggressive management with two or more intravenous anti-pseudomonal agents, approximately 25% of exacerbations will result in a loss of lung function. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the classes of intravenous anti-pseudomonal antibiotics, the findings of anti-pseudomonal antibiotic utilization surveys, the current antibiotic dosing recommendations from the U.S. and Europe, and the pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) differences between CF and non-CF individuals. Anti-pseudomonal antibiotic classes include beta-lactams, aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones, and colistimethate sodium. Recent surveys of antibiotic utilization in CF Foundation-accredited care centers have shown that a large number of centers are not following recommended dosing strategies despite published recommendations in the U.S. and Europe. The recommended doses for anti-pseudomonal antibiotics may be higher than FDA-approved doses due to PK and PD differences. As a large portion of CF patients will not regain their lung function following an APE, it seems possible that currently available anti-pseudomonal agents are being used sub-optimally. As new anti-pseudomonal agents are not currently available, we suggest the need to optimize antibiotic dosing and dosing regimens used to treat pulmonary exacerbations in an effort to improve outcomes for CF patients infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
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