Vancomycin/Piperacillin-Tazobactam and AKI

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Written by Clay Smith

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The combination of vancomycin plus piperacillin-tazobactam (VPT) was associated with increased risk of acute kidney injury (AKI) compared to either drug as monotherapy or other vancomycin/β-lactam combinations, NNH = 11.

Why does this matter?
The combination of VPT is common in sepsis patients.  Several papers have been published that raise concern that this combo may increase risk of AKI.  This is a synthesis of some of those papers.

The sepsis combo
This was a meta-analysis of papers studying VPT and AKI and included 15 published studies, 17 abstracts, with a total of nearly 25,000 patients.  They found that the VPT combo was associated with increased risk of AKI compared with vancomycin alone, piperacillin-tazobactam alone, or vancomycin combined with cefepime or a carbapenem, overall NNH = 11.  Many studies defined AKI based on rise in creatinine, which may have been transient.  However, the authors noted that, “even transient changes in renal function are associated with worse outcomes.”  So, what are we to do?  Protocols with alternative regimens to limit the frequency of VPT use is one step; cutting the duration of this therapy via deescalation is another.

Are Patients Receiving the Combination of Vancomycin and Piperacillin-Tazobactam at Higher Risk for Acute Renal Injury?  Ann Emerg Med. 2018 Oct;72(4):467-469. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2018.06.004. Epub 2018 Jul 27.

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