Individualizing gentamicin dosage in patients with cystic fibrosis: Limitations to pharmacokinetic approach

Leslie Hendeles, R. Peter Iafrate, Paul C. Stillwell, John A. Mangos

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12 Scopus citations


Gentamicin serum concentrations were measured in 15 children and seven adults with cystic fibrosis and in eight children with other diseases. Potentially toxic trough concentrations occurred in three of the first nine patients studied, in whom the dose and a 4-hour dosing interval were prescribed on the basis of one-compartment pharmacokinetic calculations (Sawchuck-Zaske method). In contrast, final concentrations were within the accepted target ranges for the remaining 13 patients with cystic fibrosis, in whom the dose and interval were adjusted empirically on the basis of a single pair of "peak" and trough values. The mean±SD final dosage required to achieve target concentrations was 13.8±2.9 mg/kg/d for children and 11.8±1.1 mg/kg/d for adults (P>0.05), generally divided into four doses at 6-hour intervals. Mean half-life and incremental increase in serum concentration from previous trough to subsequent "peak," an indirect measurement of volume of distribution, were not significantly different between children or adults with cystic fibrosis and pediatric control subjects; there was little interpatient variability in these values. Thus the high dosage requirements were related more to the higher target concentrations than to altered pharmacokinetic disposition in patients with cystic fibrosis. We conclude that the initial dose of gentamicin to achieve a peak of 8 to 12 μg/mL and a trough of <2.0 μg/mL in patients with cystic fibrosis should be 3 mg/kg administered every 6 hours in children and every eight hours in adults. Subsequent dosage adjustment should be made on the basis of a pair of peak and trough serum concentration measurements obtained after the fifth dose. Dosing intervals in this patient population generally should be no shorter than every 6 hours, even if the initial trough concentration is <1 μg/mL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-310
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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