Population Pharmacokinetics of Cefuroxime in Critically Ill Patients Receiving Continuous Venovenous Hemofiltration With Regional Citrate Anticoagulation and a Phosphate-Containing Replacement Fluid

Ther Drug Monit. 2016 Dec;38(6):699-705. doi: 10.1097/FTD.0000000000000330.


Background: Cefuroxime is frequently prescribed as an antimicrobial therapy in critically ill patients. The aim of this study was to develop a new intravenous dosing strategy for cefuroxime in critically ill patients undergoing continuous venovenous hemofiltration with regional citrate anticoagulation (RCA-CVVH) by analyzing its extracorporeal removal and pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters.

Methods: Nine critically ill patients treated with intravenous cefuroxime and RCA-CVVH and a phosphate-containing replacement fluid were investigated. Arterial and effluent samples were obtained from all patients and pre- and postfilter venous blood samples were obtained from a subgroup of 5 patients. Plasma cefuroxime levels were determined by ultraperformance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry in plasma samples collected before and after intravenous infusion of either 1500 mg cefuroxime every 12 hours or 3000 mg continuously over 24 hours. Population PK analysis and dosing simulations were performed using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling and Monte Carlo simulations.

Results: The volume of distribution (VD) of cefuroxime in the central compartment, corrected for lean body mass, was 0.11 ± 0.056 L/kgLBMc, CVVH-mediated clearance was 49.5-50.6 mL/min, the mean elimination half-life (t½) was 90 minutes (77-103), and the mean sieving coefficient was 0.89 ± 0.01. A 2-compartment model with between-subject variability in clearance, VD, and t½ described these data adequately. Simulation of a standard dosing regimen (750 mg/12 hours) predicted failure to achieve the international target plasma cefuroxime concentration (32 mg/L).

Conclusions: Cefuroxime clearance by RCA-CVVH was twice the reported clearance during standard CVVH. Our PK data predicted that a maintenance dose of 3000 mg cefuroxime, infused over 24 hours, would provide an optimal steady-state plasma concentration of 38.5 mg/L. The developed population PK model for cefuroxime has the potential to inform new dosing schedules in patients receiving cefuroxime during RCA-CVVH.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anticoagulants / administration & dosage*
  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects
  • Cefuroxime / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cefuroxime / therapeutic use*
  • Citric Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Critical Illness
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Hemofiltration / methods
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous / methods
  • Male
  • Phosphates / administration & dosage*
  • Renal Dialysis / methods


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anticoagulants
  • Phosphates
  • Citric Acid
  • Cefuroxime