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13.09.2017 | Review Article | Ausgabe 4/2018

Clinical Pharmacokinetics 4/2018

Antibiotic Distribution into Cerebrospinal Fluid: Can Dosing Safely Account for Drug and Disease Factors in the Treatment of Ventriculostomy-Associated Infections?

Clinical Pharmacokinetics > Ausgabe 4/2018
Nilesh Kumta, Jason A. Roberts, Jeffrey Lipman, Menino Osbert Cotta


Ventriculostomy-associated infections, or ventriculitis, in critically ill patients are associated with considerable morbidity. Efficacious antibiotic dosing for the treatment of these infections may be complicated by altered antibiotic concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid due to variable meningeal inflammation and antibiotic properties. Therefore, doses used to treat infections with a higher degree of meningeal inflammation (such as meningitis) may often fail to achieve equivalent exposures in patients with ventriculostomy-associated infections such as ventriculitis. This paper aims to review the disease burden, infection rates, and common pathogens associated with ventriculostomy-associated infections. This review also seeks to describe the disease- and drug-related factors that influence antibiotic distribution into cerebrospinal fluid and provide a critical appraisal of current dosing of antibiotics commonly used to treat these types of infections. A Medline search of relevant articles was conducted and used to support a review of cerebrospinal fluid penetration of vancomycin, including critical appraisal of the recent paper by Beach et al. recently published in this journal. We found that in the intensive care unit, ventriculostomy-associated infections are the most common and serious complication of external ventricular drain insertion and often result in prolonged patient stay and increased healthcare costs. Reported infection rates are extremely variable (between 0 and 45%), hindered by the inherent diagnostic difficulty. Both Gram-positive and Gram-negative organisms are associated with such infections and the rise of multi-drug-resistant pathogens means that effective treatment is an ongoing challenge. Disease factors that may need to be considered are reduced meningeal inflammation and the presence of critical illness; drug factors include physiochemical properties, degree of plasma–protein binding, and affinity to active transporter proteins present in the blood–cerebrospinal fluid barrier. The relationship between cerebrospinal fluid antibiotic exposures in the setting of ventriculostomy-associated infection and clinical response has not been fully elucidated for many of the antibiotics commonly used in its treatment. More thorough and clinically relevant investigations are needed to better define blood pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics targets and optimal therapeutic exposures for treatment of ventriculostomy-associated infections. It is hoped that this future research will be able to provide clearer recommendations for clinicians frequently faced with dosing-related dilemmas when treating patients with these challenging infections.

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