Meropenem population pharmacokinetics in patients with decompensated cirrhosis and severe infections

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2020 Dec 1;75(12):3619-3624. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkaa362.


Objectives: Meropenem pharmacokinetics (PK) may be altered in patients with cirrhosis, hampering target attainment. We aimed to describe meropenem PK in patients with decompensated cirrhosis and severe bacterial infections, identify the sources of PK variability and assess the performance of different dosing regimens to optimize the PK/pharmacodynamic (PD) target.

Methods: Serum concentrations and covariates were obtained from patients with severe infections under meropenem treatment. A population PK analysis was performed using non-linear mixed-effects modelling and the final model was used to simulate meropenem exposure to assess the PTA.

Results: Fifty-four patients were enrolled in the study. Data were best described by a one-compartment linear model. The estimated typical mean value for clearance (CL) was 8.35 L/h and the estimated volume of distribution (V) was 28.2 L. Creatinine clearance (CLCR) and MELD score significantly influenced meropenem CL, and acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) significantly affected V. Monte Carlo simulations showed that a lower meropenem dose would be needed as CLCR decreases and as the MELD score increases. Patients with ACLF would have lower peak meropenem concentrations but similar steady-state concentrations compared with patients with no ACLF.

Conclusions: Our study identified two new covariates that influence meropenem PK in patients with decompensated cirrhosis in addition to CLCR: MELD score and ACLF. Dosing regimens are recommended to reach several PK/PD targets considering these clinical variables and any MIC within the susceptibility range.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Critical Illness*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / drug therapy
  • Meropenem
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Monte Carlo Method


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Meropenem