Vancomycin dosing in morbidly obese patients

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1998 Oct;54(8):621-5. doi: 10.1007/s002280050524.


Objectives and methods: Vancomycin hydrochloride dosing requirements in morbidly obese patients with normal renal function were computed to determine the dose of vancomycin necessary to achieve target steady-state peak and trough concentrations and compared with a normal weight population.

Results: Morbidly obese patients [total body weight (TBW) 165 kg, ideal body weight (IBW) 63 kg] required 31.2 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1) TBW or 81.9 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1) IBW to achieve the target concentrations. Normal weight patients (TBW 68.6 kg) required 27.8 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1) to achieve the same concentrations. Because of altered kinetic parameters in the morbidly obese patients (obese: t1/2 = 3.3 h, V = 52 L, CL = 197 ml x min(-1); normal: t1/2=7.2 h, V=46 L, CL=77 ml x min(-1), 20 of 24 patients required q8h dosing (1938 mg q8h) compared with q12h dosing (954 mg q12h) in all normal weight patients in order to avoid trough concentrations that were too low for prolonged periods. There was a good correlation between TBW and CL, but only fair correlation between TBW and V.

Conclusion: Doses required to achieve desired vancomycin concentrations are similar in morbidly obese and normal weight patients when TBW is used as a dosing weight for the obese (approximately 30 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1)). Shorter dosage intervals may be needed when dosing morbidly obese patients so that steady-state trough concentrations remain above 5 microg x ml(-1) in this population. Because of the large amount of variation in required doses, vancomycin serum concentrations should be obtained in morbidly obese patients to ensure that adequate doses are being administered. Dosage requirements for morbidly obese patients with renal dysfunction require further study.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Obesity, Morbid / drug therapy*
  • Obesity, Morbid / metabolism
  • Vancomycin / administration & dosage*


  • Vancomycin