Background: Cystic fibrosis (CF) is characterized by chronic pulmonary infection with acute pulmonary exacerbations (APEs) requiring IV antibiotic treatment. We report on a blinded comparative trial of IV meropenem (40 mg/kg to 2 g q8h) or ceftazidime (5 mg/kg to 2 g q8h), each of which was administered with IV tobramycin (at a serum peak of ≥ 8 μg/mL and a trough of < 2 μg/mL), as treatment for CF patients with APEs.
Methods: Patients who were ≥ 5 years of age who were infected with ceftazidime-susceptible Pseudomonas aeruginosa were stratified by lung function and randomized to treatment with meropenem/tobramycin or ceftazidime/tobramycin. Patients infected with Burkholderia cepacia complex or ceftazidime-resistant P aeruginosa were assigned to receive open-label meropenem/tobramycin. Clinical response was assessed by spirometry to determine the change in percent predicted FEV1 and by a clinical acute change score (ACS).
Results: One hundred two patients were randomized to meropenem/tobramycin (n = 50) or ceftazidime/tobramycin (n = 52). Nineteen patients received open-label meropenem/tobramycin. FEV1 was improved at the end of treatment (EOT) with meropenem/tobramycin (mean [± SD] increase, 38.8 ± 52.3%) and with ceftazidime/tobramycin (mean increase, 29.4 ± 35.1%; p < 0.0001 vs baseline values). The proportion of patients with ≥ 15% relative increase from baseline FEV1 (satisfactory response) at day 7 was 62% for the meropenem/tobramycin group and 44% for the ceftazidime/tobramycin group (p = 0.04). The median time to FEV1 response was 4 days for meropenem/tobramycin therapy vs 6 days for ceftazidime/tobramycin therapy. Similarly, FEV1 improved in the open-label group (mean increase, 12.5 ± 25.7%; p = 0.05). ACS improved in all three groups at EOT (p < 0.0001 vs baseline values).
Conclusions: Therapy with both meropenem/tobramycin and ceftazidime/tobramycin improved pulmonary and clinical status and reduced sputum bacterial burden in CF patients with APEs. A larger proportion of patients receiving meropenem/tobramycin therapy demonstrated a satisfactory FEV1 response at day 7. Resistant P aeruginosa emerged infrequently during treatment with both regimens.