Cefepime: a fourth-generation parenteral cephalosporin

Ann Pharmacother. 1996 Dec;30(12):1414-24. doi: 10.1177/106002809603001211.


Objective: To review the chemistry, microbiology, pharmacokinetics, therapeutic efficacy, adverse effect profile, drug interactions, dosing, and administration of cefepime, a new fourth-generation parenteral cephalosporin.

Data sources: A MEDLINE search of the available literature, including clinical trials and reviews, was performed. Abstracts presented at recent scientific conferences and current publications were also reviewed.

Data selection: In vitro and preclinical data were included, as well as data from Phase II and III clinical trials.

Data synthesis: Cefepime is an extended-spectrum parenteral cephalosporin antibiotic active in vitro against a broad spectrum of gram-positive and gram-negative aerobic bacteria. The gram-positive spectrum is similar to that of cefotaxime, the gram-negative spectrum is similar to that of ceftazidime, and many, though not all, organisms resistant to these two agents remain susceptible to cefepime, prompting the fourth-generation designation. Cefepime has a high affinity for penicillin-binding proteins and, due to its zwitterionic configuration, rapidly penetrates outer-membrane porin channels of bacteria. Beta-lactamases appear to have a low affinity for the drug. Cefepime has a decreased propensity to induce beta-lactamases compared with other beta-lactam antibiotics. Cefepime has a pharmacokinetic disposition similar to that of other renally eliminated cephalosporins, with a half-life of approximately 2 hours. Cefepime has demonstrated clinical efficacy against a variety of infections, including urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and skin and skin structure infections. Cefepime is generally well tolerated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cefepime
  • Cephalosporins / chemistry
  • Cephalosporins / pharmacology*
  • Cephalosporins / therapeutic use
  • Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Cephalosporins
  • Cefepime