Microbiol Spectr. 2021 Oct 6:e0046021. doi: 10.1128/Spectrum.00460-21. Online ahead of print.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in pediatric liver transplant (LT) recipients. Physiological changes following LT may affect vancomycin pharmacokinetics; however, appropriate dosing to achieve sufficient drug exposure (i.e., 24-h area under the concentration-time curve [AUC24]/MIC ≥ 400) in pediatric LT recipients has not been reported. This retrospective pharmacokinetics study of LT recipients aged <18 years utilized data on patient characteristics with vancomycin concentrations and dosing information obtained from electronic medical records. Population pharmacokinetics analysis was conducted by nonlinear mixed-effects modeling with the Phoenix NLME software. Potential covariates were screened with univariate and multivariate analysis. Monte Carlo simulations were performed using the final model to explore appropriate dosing. The study included 270 pharmacokinetics profiles encompassing 1,158 concentrations measured in 161 patients. The median age was 13.3 (interquartile range, 7.6 to 53.5) months, serum creatinine (sCr) was 0.16 (0.12 to 0.23) mg/dl, and days from LT (DFLT) was 17 (6 to 31). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that lower sCr and shorter DFLT were associated with higher clearance. By post hoc estimation, the average clearance and volume of distribution were 0.18 liters/h/kg and 1.01 liters/kg, respectively. The Monte Carlo simulations revealed that only 16% of patients achieved an AUC24/MIC of ≥400 with the assumed vancomycin MIC of 1 μg/ml. DFLT and sCr were significant covariates for vancomycin clearance in pediatric LT recipients. Standard vancomycin dosing may be insufficient, and higher or more frequent dosing may be required to achieve an AUC24/MIC of ≥400 in pediatric LT recipients with normal renal function. IMPORTANCE We evaluated vancomycin pharmacokinetics in pediatric LT recipients and developed a population pharmacokinetics model by considering various factors that might account for alterations in vancomycin pharmacokinetics. Our analyses revealed that lower serum creatinine levels and a shorter duration from the day of LT were associated with higher vancomycin clearance and led to subtherapeutic drug exposure. We also performed Monte Carlo simulations to determine the appropriate dosing strategy in pediatric LT recipients, which revealed that a standard vancomycin dosing might be insufficient and that higher or more frequent dosing might be necessary to achieve an AUC24/MIC of ≥400 in pediatric LT recipients with normal renal function. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to assess vancomycin pharmacokinetics in pediatric LT recipients by population pharmacokinetics analysis.