Continuous versus intermittent infusion of vancomycin for the treatment of gram-positive infections: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Maria Adriana Cataldo, Evelina Tacconelli, Elisabetta Grilli, Federico Pea, Nicola Petrosillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: To summarize available evidence on the effect of continuous infusion (CoI) of vancomycin compared with intermittent infusion (InI) in adult patientswith Gram-positive infections. Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane databases were searched. Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and observational studies that comparatively assessed CoI and InI of vancomycin in terms of mortality, clinical cure, toxicity rates and serum drug exposure [trough concentration(Cmin) for InI and steady-state concentration (Css) for CoI; area under the curve at 24 h (AUC24) for both] were included. Meta-analysis was conducted combining and analysing the relative risk (RR) and computing a summary RR of the effects with 95% confidence interval (CI). The standardized mean difference was calculated for continuous outcomes. The I2 test was calculated to assess heterogeneity across studies. Results: One RCT and five observational studies were included in the analysis. Compared with InI, CoI of vancomycin was associated with a significantly lower risk of nephrotoxicity (RR 0.6, 95% CI 0.4-0.9, P=0.02;I2=0). Overall mortality was not different between the two groups (RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.7-1.6, P=0.9; I2=0). Conclusions: Our meta-analysis suggests that administration of vancomycin for the treatment ofGram-positiveinfections by CoI is associated with a significantly lower risk of nephrotoxicity when compared with InI of the drug.RCTs are needed to define the impact on mortality rate and on the pharmacodynamic activity in terms of AUC/MIC ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012



  • Antimicrobial treatment
  • Continuous infusion
  • Gram-positive infections
  • Intermittent infusion
  • MRSA
  • Vancomycin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this