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J Chemother. 1996 Feb;8 Suppl 2:83-90.

Diffusion of 3-quaternary ammonium cephem antibiotics into cerebrospinal fluid of patients with bacterial meningitis.

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Clinique des Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales, Hôpital, Saint Louis, Paris, France.


Cefepime and cefpirome are new beta-lactamase resistant parenteral cephalosporin derivatives whose spectrum of activity makes them suitable for use in the treatment of severe infections such as bacterial meningitis. However, the published information on the penetration of these new agents into human CSF and on their use in the treatment of bacterial meningitis are really scarce. Experimental studies have shown that cefepime and cefpirome penetrated remarkably well into the CSF of animals infected with Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus agalactiae, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae type b or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The mean changes in bacterial colony count in CSF after cefpirome or cefepime administration express the antibacterial activity of these drugs. Studies in patients show that cefepime and cefpirome crossed the blood-brain barrier and reached concentrations in the CSF that are bactericidal against most potential pathogens. Higher levels are likely to be achieved with multiple dosing and in the presence of inflamed meninges. No study has been performed to investigate the efficacy of cefpirome in the treatment of bacterial meningitis. Cefepime was as effective and safe as cefotaxime for treatment of patients with bacterial meningitis as shown in the only clinical trial.

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