Assessment of antimicrobial combinations for Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase-producing K. pneumoniae

Elizabeth B. Hirsch, Beining Guo, Kai Tai Chang, Henry Cao, Kimberly R. Ledesma, Manisha Singh, Vincent H. Tam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background. The prevalence of blaKPC among gram-negative bacteria continues to increase worldwide. Limited treatment options exist for this multidrug-resistant phenotype, often necessitating combination therapy. We investigated the in vitro and in vivo efficacy of multiple antimicrobial combinations.Methods. Two clinical strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing K. pneumoniae were studied. The killing activities of six 2-agent combinations of amikacin, doripenem, levofloxacin, and rifampin were quantitatively assessed using a validated mathematical model. Combination time-kill studies were conducted using clinically relevant concentrations; observed bacterial burdens were modeled using 3-dimensional response surfaces. Selected combinations were further validated in a neutropenic murine pneumonia model, using human-like dosing exposures.Results. The most enhanced killing effect in time-kill studies was seen with amikacin plus doripenem. Compared with placebo controls, this combination resulted in significant reduction of the bacterial burden in tissue at 24 hours, along with prolonged animal survival. In contrast, amikacin plus levofloxacin was found to be antagonistic in time-kill studies, showing inferior animal survival, as predicted.Conclusions. Our modeling approach appeared to be robust in assessing the effectiveness of various combinations for KPC-producing isolates. Amikacin plus doripenem was the most effective combination in both in vitro and in vivo infection models. Empirical selection of combinations against KPCs may result in antagonism and should be avoided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-793
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support. This work was supported in part by an unrestricted grant from Ortho McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals.


  • AmpC
  • beta-lactamases
  • combined killing
  • pharmacodynamics
  • synergism


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