Continuous Infusion Vancomycin in Pediatric Patients: A Critical Review of the Evidence

J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2020;25(3):198-214. doi: 10.5863/1551-6776-25.3.198.


Objective: To evaluate the use of continuous infusion vancomycin in pediatric patients.

Data sources and study selection: PubMed, Cochrane Library, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, and Google Scholar were searched to identify relevant published articles (1977 to November 2019) using the following search terms: vancomycin, neonates, pediatrics, infusion, continuous, administration, children, nephrotoxicity, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics. All English-language primary references that evaluated continuous infusion vancomycin in pediatric patients were included in this review.

Data synthesis: Vancomycin is typically administered with intermittent infusions, but continuous infusion is an alternative delivery method used to improve achievement of target serum concentrations. Fifteen articles were reviewed that evaluated continuous infusion vancomycin in pediatric patients. Study data were heterogeneous with limited evidence to support improved clinical or microbiologic outcomes as compared with intermittent dosing. Potential benefits and limitations of continuous infusions are discussed.

Conclusions: Currently available evidence is lacking to support routine implementation of continuous infusion vancomycin in pediatric patients. However, it is a therapeutic option in certain clinical conditions and could be beneficial for individuals with serious Gram-positive infections where rapid achievement of target serum concentrations is critical. Continuous infusions may also benefit individuals who do not achieve target concentrations or who experience significant red man syndrome with traditional dosing, particularly when high daily doses are required. Optimal dosing and ideal target serum concentrations have not been established and may vary for different populations. Future prospective randomized clinical trials should be performed to identify optimal dosing and monitoring regimens and determine comparative safety and efficacy with traditional intermittent dosing in various pediatric populations.

Keywords: administration; continuous infusion; intermittent; neonate; pediatrics; vancomycin; vancomycin infusion.

Publication types

  • Review