The influence of antibacterial susceptibility and pharmacodynamics on the therapeutic response of infection

Kirk R Wilhelmus, The University of Texas School of Public Health


This prospective cohort study estimated how antibacterial resistance affected the time until clinical response. Relative rates of improvement and cure were estimated by proportional-hazards regression for 391 patients with culture-confirmed bacterial keratitis who had the ciprofloxacin minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) measured of the principal corneal isolate and who were treated with ciprofloxacin 0.3% solution or ointment. After adjusting for age and hypopyon status and stratifying by ulcer size, clinic, and ciprofloxacin formulation, the summary rate of clinical improvement with ciprofloxacin therapy was reduced by 42% (95% confidence limits [CL], 3%, 65%) among patients whose corneal isolate's ciprofloxacin MIC exceeded 1.0 μg/mL compared to those with more sensitive isolates. The summary rate of resolution to improvement and cure was reduced by 36% (95% CL, 11%, 53%) among corneal infections having a higher ciprofloxacin MIC. Rate ratios were modified by the size of the presenting corneal ulceration; for ulcer diameters of 4 mm or less and of more than 4 mm, improvement rate ratios were 0.56 (95% CL, 0.31, 1.02) and 0.65 (95% CL, 0.23, 1.80), respectively; resolution rate ratios were 0.63 (95% CL, 0.44, 0.91) and 0.67 (95% CL, 0.32, 1.39), respectively. Sensitivity analysis showed that the summary improvement rate ratio could be maximally overestimated by 24% (95% CL, −29%, 114%) because of informative censoring or by 33% (95% CL, −21%, 126%) from loss to follow up. Based on reported corneal pharmacokinetics of topical ciprofloxacin, the probability of clinical improvement was 90% or more if the ratio of the achievable corneal ciprofloxacin concentration to the corneal isolate's ciprofloxacin MIC was above 8 or the ratio of the area under the 24-hour corneal concentration curve to the ciprofloxacin MIC was greater than 151. This study suggests that corneal infections by bacteria having a higher ciprofloxacin MIC respond more slowly to ciprofloxacin treatment than those with a lower MIC. While the rate of clinical resolution is affected by patient age and clinical severity, antimicrobial susceptibility testing of corneal cultures can indicate the relative effectiveness of antibacterial therapy. A pharmacodynamic approach to treating bacterial keratitis offers the prospect of optimal antimicrobial selection and modification.

Subject Area

Ophthalmology|Public health

Recommended Citation

Wilhelmus, Kirk R, "The influence of antibacterial susceptibility and pharmacodynamics on the therapeutic response of infection" (2002). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3146402.