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Obesity and skin and soft tissue infections: how to optimize antimicrobial usage for prevention and treatment?

Grupper, Mordechai; Nicolau, David P.

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: April 2017 - Volume 30 - Issue 2 - p 180–191
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000356

Purpose of review Skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) are prevalent in the obese population, with rising trend expected. Although numerous antibiotics are available for the prevention and treatment of SSTIs, their characterization in obese patients is not a regulatory mandate. Consequently, information that carries importance for optimizing the dosing regimen in the obese population may not be readily available. This review focuses on the most recent pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data on this topic with attention to cefazolin for surgical prophylaxis as well as antibiotics that are active against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Moreover, the implications for optimizing SSTIs prevention and treatment in the obese population will also be discussed.

Recent findings On the basis of pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic considerations, most studies found a perioperative prophylactic cefazolin regimen of 2 g to be reasonable in the case of obese patients undergoing cesarean delivery or bariatric surgery. There is general paucity of data regarding the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic characteristics of antimicrobials active against MRSA in obese patients, especially for the target tissue. Therapeutic drug monitoring has been correlated with pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic optimization for vancomycin and teicoplanin, and should be used in these cases. There is more supportive evidence for the use of oxazolidinones (linezolid and tedizolid), daptomycin and lipoglycopeptides (telavancin, dalbavancin and oritavancin) in the management of SSTIs in this population.

Summary The pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic approach, which can be used as a basis or supplement to clinical trials, provides valuable data and decision-making tools for optimizing regimens used for both prevention and treatment of SSTIs in the obese population. Important pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic characteristics of antibiotics, such as the penetration into the subcutaneous tissue and the probability of reaching the pharmacodynamic, target dictate efficacy, and thus should be taken into account and further investigated.

Center for Anti-Infective Research and Development, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut, USA

Correspondence to David P. Nicolau, PharmD, FCCP, FIDSA, Center for Anti-Infective Research and Development, Hartford Hospital, 80 Seymour Street, Hartford, CT 06102, USA. Tel: +1 860 972 3941; fax: +1 860 545 3992; e-mail:

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