Send to

Choose Destination
Pharmacotherapy. 2014 Aug;34(8):845-57. doi: 10.1002/phar.1434. Epub 2014 Apr 30.

Fosfomycin for the treatment of resistant gram-negative bacterial infections. Insights from the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists.

Author information

OU Medical System, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


The antimicrobial agent fosfomycin was discovered in 1969, at a time when bacteria had not yet developed extended-spectrum β-lactamases or carbapenemases. Decades later, it is not uncommon for gram-negative organisms to be multidrug-resistant and even pan-resistant to available antibiotic regimens, leaving clinicians with few therapeutic alternatives. Because fosfomycin has been shown to retain activity against these virulent pathogens, there is renewed interest in its use as a therapeutic agent. Fosfomycin formulations including fosfomycin disodium and the newer tromethamine salt are less toxic than other alternatives and are attractive options for resistant gram-negative and gram-positive infections. Oral fosfomycin tromethamine is approved for urinary tract infections in the United States, and an intravenous formulation is also available outside of the United States for systemic disease. The bactericidal action of fosfomycin occurs at an earlier step in cell wall synthesis than that of β-lactam antibiotics. From an in vitro standpoint, fosfomycin generally has high activity against ESBL- and carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae; multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa susceptibility appears to be more dependent on the local antibiogram. Fosfomycin formulations have a large volume of distribution, penetrate biofilms, and concentrate in the urine. Both oral and intravenous fosfomycin formulations are effective for a wide range of gram-negative infections and disease severities; however, clinical studies are limited. Fosfomycin formulations are well-tolerated, and mild gastrointestinal distress is the most common adverse effect. The primary limitations of fosfomycin are the lack of established regimens for complicated infections and the lack of availability of the intravenous formulation in the United States. Further study of this promising agent seems warranted in the current climate of antibiotic resistance.


ESBL; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; carbapenemase; fosfomycin; infection; resistant

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center