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Pyrogenic reactions associated with single daily dosing of intravenous gentamicin


OBJECTIVE: To identify risk factors associated with an unexpected outbreak of pyrogenic reactions (PR) following intravenous gentamicin.

DESIGN: We conducted two cohort studies. PRs were defined as chills, rigors, or shaking within 3 hours after initiating the gentamicin infusion during the preepidemic (December 1, 1997-January 15, 1998) or epidemic (May 1-June 15, 1998) periods. We tested gentamicin vials for endotoxin using the limulus amebocyte lysate assay.

SETTING: Inpatient services of a large community hospital in Los Angeles, California.

RESULTS: During the epidemic period, 22 (15%) of 152 patients developed documented PRs following intravenous gentamicin. PRs were more likely among patients receiving single daily dosing (SDD) than multiple daily dosing gentamicin (20/73 [27%] vs. 2/79 [3%]; relative risk, 10.8; 95% confidence interval, 2.6 44.7). Laboratory analysis of gentamicin vials found endotoxin levels that were higher among Fujisawa-brand gentamicin (implicated brand) than gentamicin used after the outbreak terminated (non-implicated brand). Although endotoxin levels in the vials did not exceed US Pharmacopeia limits (1.7 endotoxin units/mg gentamicin), the use of SDD gentamicin may place patients at greater risk of receiving doses of endotoxin above the threshold for PRs in humans.

CONCLUSIONS: Reassessment of the acceptable amounts of endotoxin in gentamicin and other parenteral products should be considered when dosing intervals used in clinical practice change.

Buchholz U, Richards C, Murthy R, Arduino M, Pon D, Schwartz W, Fontanilla E, Pegues C, Boghossian N, Peterson C, Kool J, Mascola L, Jarvis WR

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2000 Dec;21(12):771-4

PMID: 11140912