Joel M. Dulhunty, Jason A. Roberts, Joshua S. Davis, Steven A. R. Webb, Rinaldo Bellomo, Charles Gomersall, Charudatt Shirwadkar, Glenn M. Eastwood, John Myburgh, David L. Paterson, Therese Starr, Sanjoy K. Paul, and Jeffrey Lipman  Am. J. Resp. Crit. Care Med. Dec 1, 2015, vol. 192, no. 11: 1298-1305

Rationale: Continuous infusion of β-lactam antibiotics may improve outcomes because of time-dependent antibacterial activity compared with intermittent dosing.

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of continuous versus intermittent infusion in patients with severe sepsis.

Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial in 25 intensive care units (ICUs). Participants commenced on piperacillin–tazobactam, ticarcillin–clavulanate, or meropenem were randomized to receive the prescribed antibiotic via continuous or 30-minute intermittent infusion for the remainder of the treatment course or until ICU discharge. The primary outcome was the number of alive ICU-free days at Day 28. Secondary outcomes were 90-day survival, clinical cure 14 days post antibiotic cessation, alive organ failure–free days at Day 14, and duration of bacteremia.

Measurements and Main Results: We enrolled 432 eligible participants with a median age of 64 years and an Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score of 20. There was no difference in ICU-free days: 18 days (interquartile range, 2–24) and 20 days (interquartile range, 3–24) in the continuous and intermittent groups (P = 0.38). There was no difference in 90-day survival: 74.3% (156 of 210) and 72.5% (158 of 218); hazard ratio, 0.91 (95% confidence interval, 0.63–1.31; P = 0.61). Clinical cure was 52.4% (111 of 212) and 49.5% (109 of 220); odds ratio, 1.12 (95% confidence interval, 0.77–1.63; P = 0.56). There was no difference in organ failure–free days (6 d; P = 0.27) and duration of bacteremia (0 d; P = 0.24).

Conclusions: In critically ill patients with severe sepsis, there was no difference in outcomes between β-lactam antibiotic administration by continuous and intermittent infusion.

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