Polymyxin B in combination with doripenem against heteroresistant : pharmacodynamics of new dosing strategiesAcinetobacter baumannii: pharmacodynamics of new dosing strategies

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Polymyxin B is being increasingly utilized as a last resort against resistant Gram-negative bacteria. We examined the pharmacodynamics of novel dosing strategies for polymyxin B combinations to maximize efficacy and minimize the emergence of resistance and drug exposure against Acinetobacter baumannii.


The pharmacodynamics of polymyxin B together with doripenem were evaluated in time–kill experiments over 48 h against 108 cfu/mL of two polymyxin-heteroresistant A. baumannii isolates (ATCC 19606 and N16870). Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic relationships were mathematically modelled using S-ADAPT. A hollow-fibre infection model (HFIM) was also used to simulate clinically relevant polymyxin B dosing strategies (traditional, augmented ‘front-loaded’ and ‘burst’ regimens), together with doripenem, against an initial inoculum of 109 cfu/mL of ATCC 19606.


In static time–kill studies, polymyxin B concentrations >4 mg/L in combination with doripenem 25 mg/L resulted in rapid bactericidal activity against both strains with undetectable bacterial counts by 24 h. The mathematical model described the rapid, concentration-dependent killing as subpopulation and mechanistic synergy. In the HFIM, the traditional polymyxin B combination regimen was synergistic, with a >7.5 log10 reduction by 48 h. The polymyxin B ‘front-loaded’ combination resulted in more rapid and extensive initial killing (>8 log10) within 24 h, which was sustained over 10 days. With only 25% of the cumulative drug exposure, the polymyxin B ‘burst’ combination demonstrated antibacterial activity similar to traditional and ‘front-loaded’ combination strategies. The polymyxin B ‘front-loaded’ and ‘burst’ combination regimens suppressed the emergence of resistance.


Early aggressive dosing regimens for polymyxin combinations demonstrate promise for treatment of heteroresistant A. baumannii infections.

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