Meropenem pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic target attainment and clinical response in ICU patients: A prospective observational study

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2024 Apr;68(4):502-511. doi: 10.1111/aas.14376. Epub 2024 Jan 29.


Background: Several studies report lack of meropenem pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) target attainment (TA) and risk of therapeutic failure with intermittent bolus infusions in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. The aim of this study was to describe meropenem TA in an ICU population and the clinical response in the first 72 h after therapy initiation.

Methods: A prospective observational study of ICU patients ≥18 years was conducted from 2014 to 2017. Patients with normal renal clearance (NRC) and augmented renal clearance (ARC) and patients on continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) were included. Meropenem was administered as intermittent bolus infusions, mainly at a dose of 1 g q6h. Peak, mid, and trough levels were sampled at 24, 48, and 72 h after therapy initiation. TA was defined as 100% T > 4× MIC or trough concentration above 4× MIC. Meropenem PK was estimated using traditional calculation methods and population pharmacokinetic modeling (P-metrics®). Clinical response was evaluated by change in C-reactive protein (CRP), Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score, leukocyte count, and defervescence.

Results: Eighty-seven patients were included, with a median Simplified Acute Physiology (SAPS) II score 37 and 90 days mortality rate of 32%. Median TA was 100% for all groups except for the ARC group with 45.5%. Median CRP fell from 175 (interquartile range [IQR], 88-257) to 70 (IQR, 30-114) (p < .001) in the total population. A reduction in SOFA score was observed only in the non-CRRT groups (p < .001).

Conclusion: Intermittent meropenem bolus infusion q6h gives satisfactory TA in an ICU population with variable renal function and CRRT modality, except for ARC patients. No consistent relationship between TA and clinical endpoints were observed.

Keywords: augmented renal clearance; continuous renal replacement therapy; infection control; meropenem; population pharmacokinetic modeling; target attainment.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Critical Care
  • Critical Illness* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Meropenem / pharmacokinetics


  • Meropenem
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents