In this single-centre retrospective cohort study, we enrolled all adult hospitalized patients receiving cefepime and undergoing TDM from January 2013 through July 2016. The primary outcome was the incidence of clinical toxicity; a secondary outcome was clinical failure. Plasma samples were analysed via high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection.
A total of 161 cefepime concentrations were drawn from 93 patients. Roughly half (82/161, 51%) and one-third (49/161, 30%) were trough and steady-state levels from patients receiving intermittent and continuous infusions, respectively; median concentrations were 17.6 mg/L (IQR 9.7-35.2) and 29.2 mg/L (IQR 18.9-45.9). Ten patients (11%) experienced a neurologic event considered at least possibly related to cefepime; neurotoxicity was associated with poorer renal function (median creatinine clearance 54 (IQR 39-97) vs. 75 mL/min/1.732 (IQR 44-104)) and longer cefepime durations (mean 8.3 (SD±6.7) vs. 13.3 days (± 14.2), p = 0.071). Patients with trough levels greater than 20 mg/L had a fivefold higher risk for neurologic events (OR 5.05, 95% CI 1.3-19.8).
Neurotoxicity potentially related to cefepime occurred at plasma concentrations greater than 35 mg/L. For those receiving intermittent infusions, trough concentrations greater than 20 mg/L should be avoided until further information is available from prospective studies.