BACKGROUND: There is evidence that administration of higher doses of aminoglycosides given less frequently improves the bactericidal effect and reduces the potential to cause side effects. To investigate this, a prospectively randomised open label therapeutic trial was undertaken in stratified groups of patients with cystic fibrosis to examine the efficacy and toxic potential of an aminoglycoside dosing regimen designed to generate high peak drug concentrations at 12 hourly intervals compared with conventional dosing at eight hourly intervals. METHODS: Patients in group A received tobramycin eight hourly using a dose aimed at generating a peak concentration of 10 mg/l with trough concentrations below 2 mg/l, and those in group B received the total daily dose required to achieve eight hourly target concentrations administered as two equal 12 hourly doses. Clinical outcomes measured and assessed included vestibular symptoms, hearing and renal function, length of hospital stay, readmission rate, and mortality. RESULTS: Twenty nine patients were recruited during a six month period, 20 to group A and nine to group B. The average peak tobramycin level was higher in group B (12.5 (2.2) mg/l) than in group A (7.9 (1.9) mg/l), whilst the average trough level was higher in group A (0.8 (0.3) mg/l) than in group B (0.5 (0.2) mg/l). There was a difference in the number of ototoxic events between patients in group A (seven of 18, 38.9%) and group B (none of eight), but no difference was found in other outcome measures assessed. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that 12 hourly high peak aminoglycoside dosing may be less toxic than equivalent eight hourly dosing, without any apparent difference in efficacy.
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