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Experience in Monitoring Gentamicin Therapy during Treatment of Serious Gram-Negative Sepsis

Br Med J 1974; 1 doi: (Published 16 March 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;1:477
  1. P. Noone,
  2. T. M. C. Parsons,
  3. J. R. Pattison,
  4. R. C. B. Slack,
  5. D. Garfield-Davies,
  6. K. Hughes


    This paper reports our experience in monitoring gentamicin therapy during the treatment of 68 episodes of serious Gram-negative sepsis in 65 hospital patients. Most of the patients had major underlying disease. Of those who were adequately treated (peak serum concentrations of 5 μg/ml or more in 72 hours for septicaemia, urinary tract infection, and wound infection; and 8 μg/ml or more at some time during the course of treatment for pneumonia) 84% (46 out of 55) were cured. These serum concentrations could be achieved only by starting with a regimen of 5 mg/kg/day in three divided doses in all adult patients, subsequent dosage being determined by the results of rapid serum assay. The incidence of nephrotoxicity and symptomatic ototoxicity was no greater than in previous series. The main reason for assaying serum gentamicin is to ensure that an adequate dosage is achieved as soon as possible. In patients with impaired renal function or receiving prolonged high dosage assays also serve to guard against an excessive accumulation of gentamicin and an increased risk of toxicity.