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Am J Respir Med. 2003;2(1):75-107.

Cefepime: a review of its use in the management of hospitalized patients with pneumonia.

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  • 1Adis International Inc, Langhorne, Pennsylvania 19407, USA.


Cefepime (Maxipime), Maxcef, Cepimax, Cepimex, Axepim, a parenteral fourth-generation cephalosporin, is active against many organisms causative in pneumonia. Cefepime has in vitro activity against Gram-positive organisms including Staphylococcus aureus and penicillin-sensitive, -intermediate and -resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae similar to that of cefotaxime and ceftriaxone. Cefepime also has good activity against Gram-negative organisms, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, similar to that of ceftazidime. Importantly, cefepime is stable against many of the common plasmid- and chromosome-mediated beta-lactamases and is a poor inducer of AmpC beta-lactamases. As a result, it retains activity against Enterobacteriaceae that are resistant to third-generation cephalosporins, such as derepressed mutants of Enterobacter spp. Cefepime may be hydrolyzed by the extended-spectrum beta-lactamases produced by some members of the Enterobacteriaceae, but to a lesser extent than the third-generation cephalosporins. Monotherapy with cefepime 1 or 2g, usually administered intravenously twice daily, was as effective for clinical and bacteriological response as ceftazidime, ceftriaxone or cefotaxime monotherapy (1 or 2g two or three times daily) in a number of randomized, clinical trials in hospitalized adult, or less commonly, pediatric, patients with generally moderate to severe community-acquired or nosocomial pneumonia. More limited data indicated that monotherapy with cefepime 2g three times daily was also as effective in treating patients with nosocomial pneumonia as imipenem/cilostatin 0.5g four times daily, and when combined with amikacin, cefepime was as effective as ceftazidime plus amikacin. Patients with pneumonia who failed to respond to previous antibacterial therapy with penicillins or other cephalosporins responded to treatment with cefepime. Cefepime is generally well tolerated, with a tolerability profile similar to those of other parenteral cephalosporins. In clinical trials, the majority of adverse events experienced by cefepime recipients were mild to moderate and reversible. The most common adverse events with a causal relationship to cefepime reported in clinical trials included rash and diarrhea. Other, less common, adverse events included pruritus, urticaria, nausea, vomiting oral candidiasis, colitis, headache, fever, erythema and vaginitis.


Cefepime is an established and generally well tolerated parenteral drug with a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity which, when administered twice daily, provides coverage of most of the pathogens that may be causative in pneumonia. In randomized clinical trials in hospitalized patients with generally moderate to severe community-acquired or nosocomial pneumonia, cefepime monotherapy exhibited good clinical and bacteriological efficacy. Cefepime may become a preferred antibacterial agent for infections caused by Enterobacter spp. With prudent use in order to prevent the emergence of resistant organisms, cefepime will continue to be a suitable option for the empiric treatment of pneumonia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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