Background: Recent scientific reports on the use of high dose tigecycline monotherapy as a “drug of last resort” warrant further research into the use of this regimen for the treatment of severe multidrug-resistant, Gram-negative bacterial infections. In the current study, the therapeutic efficacy of tigecycline monotherapy was investigated and compared to meropenem monotherapy in a newly developed rat model of fatal lobar pneumonia-septicemia. Methods: A Klebsiella pneumoniae producing extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) and an isogenic variant producing K. pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) were used in the study. Both strains were tested for their in vitro antibiotic susceptibility and used to induce pneumonia-septicemia in rats, which was characterized using disease progression parameters. Therapy with tigecycline or meropenem was initiated at the moment that rats suffered from progressive infection and was administered 12-hourly over 10 days. The pharmacokinetics of meropenem were determined in infected rats. Results: In rats with ESBL pneumonia-septicemia, the minimum dosage of meropenem achieving survival of all rats was 25 mg/kg/day. However, in rats with KPC pneumonia-septicemia, this meropenem dosage was unsuccessful. In contrast, all rats with KPC pneumonia-septicemia were successfully cured by administration of high-dose tigecycline monotherapy of 25 mg/kg/day (i.e., the minimum tigecycline dosage achieving 100% survival of rats with ESBL pneumonia-septicemia in a previous study). Conclusions: The current study supports recent literature recommending high-dose tigecycline as a last resort regimen for the treatment of severe multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. The use of ESBL- and KPC-producing K. pneumoniae strains in the current rat model of pneumonia-septicemia enables further investigation, helping provide supporting data for follow-up clinical trials in patients suffering from severe multidrug-resistant bacterial respiratory infections.

Antibiotic resistance, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Meropenem, Pneumonia, Septicemia, Tigecycline,

van der Weide, H, ten Kate, M.T, Vermeulen-de Jongh, D.M.C, van der Meijden, A, Wijma, R.A, Boers, S.A, … Bakker-Woudenberg, I.A.J.M. (2020). Successful high-dosage monotherapy of tigecycline in a multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae pneumonia-septicemia model in rats. Antibiotics, 9(3). doi:10.3390/antibiotics9030109