Clinical pharmacokinetics of antimicrobial drugs in cystic fibrosis

Pharm World Sci. 1998 Aug;20(4):149-60. doi: 10.1023/a:1008634911114.


The disposition of many drugs in cystic fibrosis is abnormal compared with healthy individuals. In general, changes include an increased volume of distribution expressed in liters per kg bodyweight for highly hydrophilic drugs such as aminoglycosides, and, to a lesser extent, for penicillins and cephalosporins, together with an increased total body clearance. The main reason for the increased volume of distribution is the increased amount of lean tissue per kg bodyweight, since patients with CF are generally undernourished and have a paucity of adipose tissue. The reason for the increased renal clearance is less clear. Increased glomerular filtration and tubular secretion have been observed. Protein binding generally is unaltered in CF. The fluorquinolones and vancomycin show no altered pharmacokinetics in CF although gastro-intestinal absorption may be delayed for fluorquinolones. Sulphamethoxazole shows increased clearance due to an increased acetylation and, in the case of trimethoprim, renal clearance is increased compared with healthy individuals. As a consequence, drugs that show increased clearance, will lead to reduced serum concentrations and smaller AUCs and therefore CF patients require larger doses per kg bodyweight.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy
  • Cystic Fibrosis / metabolism*
  • Humans


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents