Roberts JA, Kumar A, Lipman J.; Crit Care Med. 2017 Feb;45(2):331-336.

Drugs are key weapons that clinicians have to battle against the profound pathologies encountered in critically ill patients. Antibiotics in particular are commonly used and can improve patient outcomes dramatically. Despite this, there are strong opportunities for further reducing the persisting poor outcomes for infected critically ill patients. However, taking these next steps for improving patient care requires a new approach to antibiotic therapy.

Giving the right dose is highly likely to increase the probability of clinical cure from infection and suppress the emergence of resistant pathogens. Furthermore, in some patients with higher levels of sickness severity, reduced mortality from an optimized approach to antibiotic use could also occur. To enable optimized dosing, the use of customized dosing regimens through either evidence-based dosing nomograms or preferably through the use of dosing software supplemented by therapeutic drug monitoring data should be embedded into daily practice. These customized dosing regimens should also be given as soon as practicable as reduced time to initiation of therapy has been shown to improve patient survival, particularly in the presence of septic shock. However, robust data supporting these logical approaches to therapy, which may deliver the next step change improvement for treatment of infections in critically ill patients, are lacking. Large prospective studies of patient survival and health system costs are now required to determine the value of customized antibiotic dosing, that is, giving the right dose at the right time.

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