Meta-Analysis of a Possible Signal of Increased Mortality Associated with Cefepime Use

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BackgroundOn the basis of meta-analyses, concern has been raised regarding a possible signal of increased mortality associated with the use of cefepime versus other β-lactam antibiotics. To further investigate this possible signal, we accessed findings and data from published and unpublished cefepime clinical trials.MethodsWe performed meta-analyses using trial-and patient-level data from comparative trials. Trial-level analyses were performed using summary data from all patients in the trials, and patient-level analyses were performed on trials for which patient-level data were available. Thirty-day, all-cause mortality was analyzed using the Mantel-Haenszel adjusted risk difference (ARD) method.ResultsThe trial-level meta-analysis was based on 88 trials (9467 cefepime patients and 8288 comparator patients). The 30-day, all-cause mortality rates were 6.21% (588/9467) for the cefepime patients and 6.00% (497/ 8288) for comparator patients (ARD per 1000 population, 5.38; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.53 to 12.28). In the patient-level analysis (35 trials, 5058 cefepime patients, and 3976 comparator patients), 30-day, all-cause mortality rates were 5.63% (285/5058) for cefepime patients and 5.68% (226/3976) for comparator patients (ARD per 1000 population, 4.83; 95% CI, 4.72 to 14.38). A sensitivity analysis based solely on the 24 febrile neutropenia trials did not show a statistically significant increase in mortality with cefepime use (ARD per 1000 population, 9.67; 95% CI, 2.87 to 22.21).ConclusionsIn both trial-level and patient-level meta-analyses, we did not identify a statistically significant increase in mortality among cefepime-treated patients, compared with those treated with other antibacterials.

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