Adequacy of cefepime concentrations in the early phase of critical illness: A case for precision pharmacotherapy

Erin F. Barreto, Jack Chang, Matthew W. Bjergum, Ognjen Gajic, Paul J. Jannetto, Kristin C. Mara, Laurie A. Meade, Andrew D. Rule, Kathryn J. Vollmer, Marc H. Scheetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Objective: In critically ill patients, adequacy of early antibiotic exposure has been incompletely evaluated. This study characterized factors associated with inadequate cefepime exposure in the first 24 h of critical illness. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Academic Medical Center. Patients: Critically ill adults treated with cefepime. Patients with acute kidney injury or treated with kidney replacement therapy or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation were excluded. Intervention: None. Measurements: A nonlinear mixed-effects pharmacokinetic (PK) model was developed to estimate cefepime concentrations for each patient over time. The percentage of time the free drug concentration exceeded 8 mg/L during the first 24 h of therapy was calculated (%ƒT>8; appropriate for the susceptible breakpoint for Pseudomonas aeruginosa). Factors predictive of low %ƒT>8 were explored with multivariable regression. Main Results: In the 100 included patients, a one-compartment PK model was developed with first-order elimination with covariates for weight and estimated glomerular filtration rate based on creatinine and cystatin C (eGFRSCr-CysC). The median (interquartile range) %ƒT>8 for cefepime in the first 24 h of therapy based on this model was 85% (66%, 100%). Less than 100% ƒT>8 during first 24 h of therapy occurred in 70 (70%) individuals. Lower Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (p = 0.032) and higher eGFRSCr-CysC (p < 0.001) predicted a lower %ƒT>8. Central nervous system infection source was protective (i.e., associated with a higher %ƒT>8; p = 0.008). Conclusions: During early critical illness, cefepime concentrations were inadequate in a significant proportion of patients. Antimicrobial optimization is needed to improve the precision of pharmacotherapy in the critically ill patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1112-1120
Number of pages9
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • beta-lactams
  • critical care
  • glomerular filtration rate
  • pharmacokinetics
  • sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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