Ceftazidime, Carbapenems, or Piperacillin-tazobactam as Single Definitive Therapy for Pseudomonas aeruginosa Bloodstream Infection: A Multisite Retrospective Study

Clin Infect Dis. 2020 May 23;70(11):2270-2280. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciz668.


Background: The optimal antibiotic regimen for Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteremia is controversial. Although β-lactam monotherapy is common, data to guide the choice between antibiotics are scarce. We aimed to compare ceftazidime, carbapenems, and piperacillin-tazobactam as definitive monotherapy.

Methods: A multinational retrospective study (9 countries, 25 centers) including 767 hospitalized patients with P. aeruginosa bacteremia treated with β-lactam monotherapy during 2009-2015. The primary outcome was 30-day all-cause mortality. Univariate and multivariate, including propensity-adjusted, analyses were conducted introducing monotherapy type as an independent variable.

Results: Thirty-day mortality was 37/213 (17.4%), 42/210 (20%), and 55/344 (16%) in the ceftazidime, carbapenem, and piperacillin-tazobactam groups, respectively. Type of monotherapy was not significantly associated with mortality in either univariate, multivariate, or propensity-adjusted analyses (odds ratio [OR], 1.14; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.52-2.46, for ceftazidime; OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.67-2.51, for piperacillin-tazobactam, with carbapenems as reference in propensity adjusted multivariate analysis; 542 patients). No significant difference between antibiotics was demonstrated for clinical failure, microbiological failure, or adverse events. Isolation of P. aeruginosa with new resistance to antipseudomonal drugs was significantly more frequent with carbapenems (36/206 [17.5%]) versus ceftazidime (25/201 [12.4%]) and piperacillin-tazobactam (28/332 [8.4%] (P = .007).

Conclusions: No significant difference in mortality, clinical, and microbiological outcomes or adverse events was demonstrated between ceftazidime, carbapenems, and piperacillin-tazobactam as definitive treatment of P. aeruginosa bacteremia. Higher rates of resistant P. aeruginosa after patients were treated with carbapenems, along with the general preference for carbapenem-sparing regimens, suggests using ceftazidime or piperacillin-tazobactam for treating susceptible infection.

Keywords: Pseudomonas; bacteremia; beta-lactam; monotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carbapenems / therapeutic use
  • Ceftazidime / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Penicillanic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Piperacillin / therapeutic use
  • Pseudomonas Infections* / drug therapy
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Carbapenems
  • Penicillanic Acid
  • Ceftazidime
  • Piperacillin