Population pharmacokinetics of vancomycin in obesity: Finding the optimal dose for (morbidly) obese individuals

Cornelis Smit, Roeland E. Wasmann, Sebastiaan C. Goulooze, Marinus J. Wiezer, Eric P.A. van Dongen, Johan W. Mouton, Roger J.M. Brüggemann, Catherijne A.J. Knibbe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: For vancomycin treatment in obese patients, there is no consensus on the optimal dose that will lead to the pharmacodynamic target (area under the curve 400–700 mg h L−1). This prospective study quantifies vancomycin pharmacokinetics in morbidly obese and nonobese individuals, in order to guide vancomycin dosing in the obese. Methods: Morbidly obese individuals (n = 20) undergoing bariatric surgery and nonobese healthy volunteers (n = 8; total body weight [TBW] 60.0–234.6 kg) received a single vancomycin dose (obese: 12.5 mg kg−1, maximum 2500 mg; nonobese: 1000 mg) with plasma concentrations measured over 48 h (11–13 samples per individual). Modelling, internal validation, external validation using previously published data and simulations (n = 10.000 individuals, TBW 60–230 kg) were performed using NONMEM. Results: In a 3-compartment model, peripheral volume of distribution and clearance increased with TBW (both p < 0.001), which was confirmed in the external validation. A dose of 35 mg kg−1 day−1 (maximum 5500 mg/day) resulted in a > 90% target attainment (area under the curve > 400 mg h L−1) in individuals up to 200 kg, with corresponding trough concentrations of 5.7–14.6 mg L−1 (twice daily dosing). For continuous infusion, a loading dose of 1500 mg is required for steady state on day 1. Conclusion: In this prospective, rich sampling pharmacokinetic study, vancomycin clearance was well predicted using TBW. We recommend that in obese individuals without renal impairment, vancomycin should be dosed as 35 mg kg−1 day−1 (maximized at 5500 mg/day). When given over 2 daily doses, trough concentrations of 5.7–14.6 mg L−1 correspond to the target exposure in obese individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-317
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • glycopeptides
  • morbid obesity
  • obesity
  • pharmacokinetics
  • pharmacology
  • vancomycin


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