Given the sparse antibiotic pipeline and the increasing prevalence of resistant organisms, efforts should be made to optimise the pharmacodynamic exposure of currently available agents. Prolonging the infusion duration is a strategy used to increase the percentage of the dosing interval that free drug concentrations remain above the minimum inhibitory concentration (fT>MIC), the pharmacodynamic efficacy driver for time-dependent antibiotics such as β-lactams. β-Lactams, the most commonly prescribed class of antibiotics owing to their efficacy and safety profile, have been the mainstay of therapy since the discovery of penicillin over 60 years ago. Mounting evidence, including the use of population pharmacokinetic modelling and Monte Carlo simulation, suggests that prolonging the infusion time of β-lactam antibiotics may have advantages over standard infusion techniques, including an enhanced probability of achieving requisite fT>MIC exposures, lower mortality and potentially reductions in infection/antibiotic-related costs. As a result of these favourable attributes, clinical practice guidelines support the use of prolonged-infusion β-lactams in the treatment of many severe infections. This article discusses the rationale and evidence for prolonging the infusion of β-lactam antibiotics and provides guidance for the implementation of a prolonged-infusion programme.
Keywords: Extended infusion; Pharmacodynamics; Prolonged infusion; β-Lactams.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. and the International Society of Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.