Influence of pregnancy on the pharmacokinetic behaviour and the transplacental transfer of the piperacillin-tazobactam combination

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1998 Jan;76(1):21-7. doi: 10.1016/s0301-2115(97)00150-4.


The safety/acceptability, blood pharmacokinetics and urinary excretion of the piperacillin-tazobactam (PPR-TZB) combination were studied in six patients between 25 1/7 and 31 5/7 weeks of amenorrhea. The combination was given for a materno-fetal infection due to susceptible organisms i.e. 4/0.5 g/6 h. Whenever possible, the trans-placental transfer (TPT) of the combination was assessed in several sub-compartments of the feto-placental unit i.e. maternal blood sample, cord blood, amniotic fluid, placenta tissue and fetal urine. Two series of nine blood samples were scheduled for each patient, i.e. on D1 (first dose) and D3 (at plateau). Samples were assayed by HPLC and data were analyzed by a non-compartmental method. Safety/acceptability of the treatment proved to be good. The kinetic behavior of both beta-lactams appeared to be identical. Evidence was found during pregnancy of an increase in Vss and Cl of the combination. These increases can be linked to a notable decrease in AUCs. The TPT of the combination was significant. Regarding other accessible compartments (i.e. placenta tissue, amniotic fluid and fetal urine), the ratio of PPR-TZB concentrations was invariably about 8. Maternal circulating levels of PPR-TZB were, by 4 h, less than the MIC of target organisms (i.e. < or = 8 micrograms/ml), both on D1 and at steady state. This raises the question of the pertinence of the dosage regimen. Regarding PPR, it is accepted that antibacterial protection is satisfactory when circulating concentrations are kept at a Css (steady state concentration) of the order of 20 micrograms/ml or more. PPR-TZB combination would be administered by continuous infusion i.e. 8 mg/min to obtain 3 h later a Css of more than 20 micrograms/ml. The daily dosage would then be 12/1.5 g instead of 16/2 g, which is also more satisfactory from a pharmaco-economic standpoint. This proposal must be validated in a sufficient number of patients and, could avoid disqualification of the combination PPR-TZB in the treatment of serious infections during certain pathological pregnancies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amniotic Fluid / metabolism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / blood
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / pharmacokinetics*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / urine
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / metabolism
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Penicillanic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Penicillanic Acid / blood
  • Penicillanic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • Penicillanic Acid / urine
  • Penicillins / pharmacokinetics*
  • Piperacillin / blood
  • Piperacillin / pharmacokinetics
  • Piperacillin / urine
  • Piperacillin, Tazobactam Drug Combination
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy / metabolism*
  • beta-Lactamase Inhibitors


  • Penicillins
  • beta-Lactamase Inhibitors
  • Piperacillin, Tazobactam Drug Combination
  • Penicillanic Acid
  • Piperacillin