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Widening the net: a literature review of antimicrobial agents with potential suitability for outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy services—the importance of storage and stability
  1. Abi Jenkins1,2,
  2. Steven Shanu3,
  3. Conor Jamieson3,
  4. Mark Santillo4
  1. 1Pharmacy Department, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2School of Pharmacy, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3Pharmacy Department, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Birmingham, UK
  4. 4Quality Assurance, South Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, Torquay, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Abi Jenkins, Pharmacy, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, B15 2GW, UK; abi.jenkins2{at}


Objectives Outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) services using continuous infusions (CIs) of antimicrobial agents in elastomeric devices require evidence of acceptable stability of the agent over the infusion period. A period of refrigerated storage of filled devices, followed by the CI period, is useful for OPAT services but can present a significant challenge to the stability of drugs. The aims of this study were to review fresh-filled stability data on antimicrobials which would be useful for OPAT services and to identify suitable candidates for further assessment.

Methods Searches identified papers relating to stability assessments of antimicrobials for immediate use tested above 31°C using a stability-indicating method.

Results We identified 18 stability studies published in 12 papers between 2015 and 2020, assessing the stability of 10 agents. Aminopenicillins like ampicillin and amoxicillin appear too unstable for CI, while benzylpenicillin may benefit from buffering to improve its stability. Cephalosporins vary in their stability and CI periods of 24 hours may not be achievable. Of the carbapenems, there are insufficient data for doripenem but meropenem has been extensively studied and is unsuitable for CI longer than 6 hours. Voriconazole may be suitable for CI but needs further investigation.

Conclusions Some drugs identified in our review are unlikely to be suitable for continuous infusion in OPAT services due to instability. Using a ‘fresh-fill’ approach, without refrigerated storage, may make some drugs useful while other agents should be considered for further assessment to Yellow Cover Document standards. The impact of buffering for penicillins should be assessed further.

  • pharmaceutical preparations
  • drug administration routes
  • pharmacy administration
  • pharmacy service
  • hospital
  • drug compounding

Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. Not applicable.

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Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. Not applicable.

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