J Thorac Dis. 2021 Feb;13(2):768-777. doi: 10.21037/jtd-20-2243.
BACKGROUND: Vancomycin is the treatment of choice for serious methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. Current guidelines recommend giving an initial loading dose (LD) of 25-30 mg/kg to rapidly increase the serum concentration. However, high-quality evidence for the clinical benefit of LD is lacking. Herein, we aim to examine the association between vancomycin LD and clinical outcome.
METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted on adult patients treated for MRSA pneumonia with vancomycin in medical intensive care units from April 2016 to August 2018. MRSA pneumonia was defined by the Centers for Disease Control and National Healthcare Safety Network definition. The primary outcome was the clinical cure of pneumonia. Secondary outcome measures included time to pharmacokinetic (PK) target attainment, microbiological cure, acute kidney injury, and all-cause mortality.
RESULTS: A total of 81 patients were included; of these 22 (27.2%) received LD. The mean initial dose was significantly higher in the LD group. Clinical cure was similar in both groups (68.2% vs. 66.1% in the LD and non-LD groups, respectively; P=0.860). No significant difference was observed in the microbiological cure, all-cause mortality, and incidence of acute kidney injury. Furthermore, no difference was observed in terms of time to PK target attainment (69.2 vs. 63.4 h in the LD and non-LD groups, respectively; P=0.624). Vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration of <2 mg/L was identified as an independent predictive factor for clinical cure in multivariable analysis, whereas vancomycin LD was not.
CONCLUSIONS: Initial LD is not associated with better clinical outcome or rapid pharmacological target attainment in critically ill patients with MRSA pneumonia. Further studies are warranted to provide better evidence for this widely recommended practice.