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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2007 Feb;59(2):285-91. Epub 2006 Nov 28.

Is continuous infusion ceftriaxone better than once-a-day dosing in intensive care? A randomized controlled pilot study.

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Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane Australia.



To compare the clinical and bacteriological outcome of critically ill patients with sepsis treated by ceftriaxone administered as a once-a-day intermittent bolus dose or by 24 h continuous infusion.


We conducted an open-label, randomized controlled pilot study in 57 patients clinically diagnosed with sepsis (suspected/proven infection and systemic inflammatory response syndrome) in a tertiary level intensive care unit. Patients were randomized to receive 2 g of ceftriaxone administered by once-daily intermittent bolus dosing or by 24 h continuous infusion. Clinical and bacteriological outcomes were assessed by blinded clinicians.


Fifty-seven patients were enrolled in the study, 50 of whom fulfilled the a priori definition of treatment for 4 or more days. The infusion (n = 29) and bolus groups (n = 28) were similar in terms of demographics, although the median age of those receiving the infusion was younger. Intention-to-treat analysis found no statistically significant differences in the primary outcomes for clinical response (P = 0.17), clinical cure [infusion n = 13/29 versus bolus n = 5/28; adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 3.74; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) = 1.11-12.57; P = 0.06], bacteriological response (P = 0.41) and bacteriological cure (infusion n = 18/29 versus bolus 14/28; AOR = 1.64; 95% CI = 0.57-4.70; P = 0.52). However, logistic regression in patients that complied with the a priori definitions who received ceftriaxone by continuous infusion (AOR = 22.8; 95% CI = 2.24-232.3; P = 0.008) or patients with a low Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score (AOR = 0.70; 95% CI = 0.54-0.91; P = 0.008) were associated with an improved clinical outcome when age and Sepsis Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score at time of study entry were controlled for.


This pilot study suggests clinical and bacteriological advantages of continuous infusion of ceftriaxone over bolus administration in critically ill patients in patients requiring 4 or more days of treatment. This sets the scene for a large multicentre double-blind randomized controlled trial to confirm these findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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