Training a Drug to Do New Tricks: Insights on Stability of Meropenem Administered as a Continuous Infusion

Microbiol Insights. 2018 Oct 14;11:1178636118804549. doi: 10.1177/1178636118804549. eCollection 2018.


Background: The antibiotic armamentarium used to combat multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs) include carbapenems. Continuous infusion (CI) dosing is frequently employed to maximize beta-lactam efficacy; however, use of meropenem CI has been limited due to concerns with product instability.

Objective: The primary objective of this study was to quantify meropenem serum concentrations to reflect drug stability when administered as CI over 8- or 12-h exchanges. In addition, a stability experiment was performed to further establish meropenem integrity over 12 h. The secondary objectives were to assess the ability of meropenem to achieve target pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) exposures relative to the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the pathogen, and to determine clinical cure.

Methods: This was a retrospective, observational study on use of CI meropenem (infused either over 8- or 12- h) at a 1% concentration. The stability experiment was conducted on 1% meropenem at room temperature.

Results: In 22 patients, a median meropenem daily dose of 6 g/day (range 2-6 g/day) resulted in a median serum concentration of 17.8 mg/L (interquartile range, 9.3-27.8 mg/L). In 95% of cases, meropenem delivered as CI resulted in free drug concentrations at or above the MIC of the pathogen for the entire dosing interval. Clinical cure was achieved in 80% of patients included in this review. The stability experiment revealed negligible drug degradation at the end of the 12-h dosing interval.

Conclusions: The data from this study provides compelling evidence for the use of meropenem as CI utilizing either a 12- or 8-h exchange process.

Keywords: Drug stability; antibiotic exposure; continuous infusion; meropenem; therapeutic drug monitoring.