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"Studies to assess the factors responsible for this variability in vancomycin pharmacokinetics are needed" Akunne et al (2021).
Vancomycin in critically ill children


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Vancomycin is often used in the ICU for the treatment of Gram-positive bacterial infection. In critically ill children, there are pathophysiologic changes that affect the pharmacokinetics of vancomycin. A systematic review of vancomycin pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in critically ill children was performed.

Methods: Pharmacokinetic studies of vancomycin in critically ill children published up to May 2021 were included in the review provided they included children aged > 1 month. Studies including neonates were excluded. A search was performed using the PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar databases. The Risk of Bias Assessment Tool for Systematic Reviews (ROBIS) was used to check for quality and reduce bias. Data on study characteristics, patient demographics, clinical parameters, pharmacokinetic parameters, outcomes, and study limitations were collected.

Results: Thirteen studies were included in this review. A wide variety of dosing and sampling strategies were used in the studies. Methods for estimating vancomycin pharmacokinetics, especially the area under the curve over 24 h, varied. Vancomycin doses of 20-60 mg/kg were given daily. This resulted in high variability in pharmacokinetic parameters. Vancomycin trough level was less than 15 μg/mL in most of the studies. Vancomycin clearance ranged from 0.05 to 0.38 L/h/kg. Volume of distribution ranged from 0.1 to 1.16 L/kg. Half-life was between 2.4 and 23.6 h. Patients in the study receiving continuous vancomycin infusion had AUC24 < 400 µg·h/mL.

Conclusion: There is large variability in the pharmacokinetics of vancomycin among critically ill patients. Studies to assess the factors responsible for this variability in vancomycin pharmacokinetics are needed.


Akunne OO, Mugabo P, Argent AC. Pharmacokinetics of Vancomycin in Critically Ill Children: A Systematic Review. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2021 Nov 8:1–18. doi: 10.1007/s13318-021-00730-z. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34750740; PMCID: PMC8574943.