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UNASYN®Clinical Pharmacology (ampicillin sodium, sulbactam sodium)

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

General

Immediately after completion of a 15-minute intravenous infusion of UNASYN, peak serum concentrations of ampicillin and sulbactam are attained. Ampicillin serum levels are similar to those produced by the administration of equivalent amounts of ampicillin alone. Peak ampicillin serum levels ranging from 109 to 150 mcg/mL are attained after administration of 2000 mg of ampicillin plus 1000 mg sulbactam and 40 to 71 mcg/mL after administration of 1000 mg ampicillin plus 500 mg sulbactam. The corresponding mean peak serum levels for sulbactam range from 48 to 88 mcg/mL and 21 to 40 mcg/mL, respectively. After an intramuscular injection of 1000 mg ampicillin plus 500 mg sulbactam, peak ampicillin serum levels ranging from 8 to 37 mcg/mL and peak sulbactam serum levels ranging from 6 to 24 mcg/mL are attained.

The mean serum half-life of both drugs is approximately 1 hour in healthy volunteers.

Approximately 75 to 85% of both ampicillin and sulbactam are excreted unchanged in the urine during the first 8 hours after administration of UNASYN to individuals with normal renal function. Somewhat higher and more prolonged serum levels of ampicillin and sulbactam can be achieved with the concurrent administration of probenecid.

In patients with impaired renal function the elimination kinetics of ampicillin and sulbactam are similarly affected, hence the ratio of one to the other will remain constant whatever the renal function. The dose of UNASYN in such patients should be administered less frequently in accordance with the usual practice for ampicillin (see DOSAGE and ADMINISTRATION section).

Ampicillin has been found to be approximately 28% reversibly bound to human serum protein and sulbactam approximately 38% reversibly bound.

The following average levels of ampicillin and sulbactam were measured in the tissues and fluids listed:

TABLE 1 Concentration of UNASYN in Various Body Tissues and Fluids
Fluid or TissueDose
(grams)
Ampicillin/Sulbactam
Concentration
(mcg/mL or mcg/g)
Ampicillin/Sulbactam
Peritoneal Fluid0.5/0.5 IV7/14
Blister Fluid (Cantharides)0.5/0.5 IV8/20
Tissue Fluid1/0.5 IV8/4
Intestinal Mucosa0.5/0.5 IV11/18
Appendix2/1 IV3/40

Penetration of both ampicillin and sulbactam into cerebrospinal fluid in the presence of inflamed meninges has been demonstrated after IV administration of UNASYN.

The pharmacokinetics of ampicillin and sulbactam in pediatric patients receiving UNASYN are similar to those observed in adults. Immediately after a 15-minute infusion of 50 to 75 mg UNASYN/kg body weight, peak serum and plasma concentrations of 82 to 446 mcg ampicillin/mL and 44 to 203 mcg sulbactam/mL were obtained. Mean half-life values were approximately 1 hour.

MICROBIOLOGY

Ampicillin is similar to benzyl penicillin in its bactericidal action against susceptible organisms during the stage of active multiplication. It acts through the inhibition of cell wall mucopeptide biosynthesis. Ampicillin has a broad spectrum of bactericidal activity against many gram-positive and gram-negative aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. (Ampicillin is, however, degraded by beta-lactamases and therefore the spectrum of activity does not normally include organisms which produce these enzymes).

A wide range of beta-lactamases found in microorganisms resistant to penicillins and cephalosporins have been shown in biochemical studies with cell free bacterial systems to be irreversibly inhibited by sulbactam. Although sulbactam alone possesses little useful antibacterial activity except against the Neisseriaceae, whole organism studies have shown that sulbactam restores ampicillin activity against beta-lactamase producing strains. In particular, sulbactam has good inhibitory activity against the clinically important plasmid mediated beta-lactamases most frequently responsible for transferred drug resistance. Sulbactam has no effect on the activity of ampicillin against ampicillin susceptible strains.

The presence of sulbactam in the UNASYN formulation effectively extends the antibacterial spectrum of ampicillin to include many bacteria normally resistant to it and to other beta-lactam antibacterials. Thus, UNASYN possesses the properties of a broad-spectrum antibacterial and a beta-lactamase inhibitor.

While in vitro studies have demonstrated the susceptibility of most strains of the following organisms, clinical efficacy for infections other than those included in the INDICATIONS and USAGE section has not been documented.

Gram-Positive Bacteria

Staphylococcus aureus (beta-lactamase and non-beta-lactamase producing), Staphylococcus epidermidis (beta-lactamase and non-beta-lactamase producing), Staphylococcus saprophyticus (beta-lactamase and non-beta-lactamase producing), Streptococcus faecalis1 (Enterococcus), Streptococcus pneumoniae1 (formerly D. pneumoniae), Streptococcus pyogenes1, Streptococcus viridans1.

Gram-Negative Bacteria

Hemophilus influenzae (beta-lactamase and non-beta-lactamase producing), Moraxella (Branhamella) catarrhalis (beta-lactamase and non-beta-lactamase producing), Escherichia coli (beta-lactamase and non-beta-lactamase producing), Klebsiella species (all known strains are beta-lactamase producing), Proteus mirabilis (beta-lactamase and non-beta-lactamase producing), Proteus vulgaris, Providencia rettgeri, Providencia stuartii, Morganella morganii, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (beta-lactamase and non-beta-lactamase producing).

Anaerobes

Clostridium species,1 Peptococcus species,1 Peptostreptococcus species, Bacteroides species, including B. fragilis.


1
These are not beta-lactamase producing strains and, therefore, are susceptible to ampicillin alone.
Susceptibility Testing

For specific information regarding susceptibility test interpretive criteria and associated test methods and quality control standards recognized by FDA for this drug, please see: https://www.fda.gov/STIC.

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