The pharmacokinetics of imipenem, a new carbapenem antibiotic, and cilastatin, a metabolic inhibitor, were evaluated in 17 patients with cystic fibrosis. Imipenem and cilastatin were combined in a ratio of 1:1 in the infusion solution, and patients intravenously received 30, 60, or 90 mg of imipenem per kg of body weight per day, divided into four equal doses. Pharmacokinetic evaluation after the first dose and again under steady-state conditions revealed biodisposition characteristics which were similar and independent of the daily dose administered. Cilastatin concentrations in serum paralleled those of imipenem. A linear relationship between dose and area under the serum concentration-time curve for both compounds was observed, suggesting a first-order pharmacokinetic process. A total of 50 and 78% of the doses of imipenem and cilastatin, respectively, were recovered unchanged in the urine. The renal clearances of imipenem and cilastatin averaged 54 and 88%, respectively, of the serum clearance. These data suggest that an extrarenal mechanism may be involved in the overall elimination of imipenem. No patient experienced any clinical or biochemical abnormalities during drug therapy
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