Cefepime-induced neurotoxicity: systematic review

Gozun Maan, Koichi Keitoku, Nobuhiko Kimura, Haruki Sawada, Andrew Pham, Jihun Yeo, Hideharu Hagiya, Yoshito Nishimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Cefepime-induced neurotoxicity (CIN) has been well acknowledged among clinicians, although there are no clear diagnostic criteria or specific laboratory testing to help with its diagnosis. We aimed to summarize the existing evidence regarding CIN and provide future agendas for research. METHODS: Following the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews, we searched MEDLINE and Embase for all peer-reviewed articles using keywords including 'cefepime', 'neurotoxicity', 'encephalopathy' and 'seizure', from their inception to 20 January 2022. RESULTS: We included 92 articles, including 23 observational studies and 69 cases from case reports and case series, in the systematic review. Among 119 patients with CIN, 23.5% were in the ICU at the time of diagnosis and nearly 90% of the cases showed renal dysfunction.Cefepime overdoses were described in 41%. The median latency period of developing CIN from cefepime initiation was 4 days, and about 12% developed CIN during empirical treatment. CIN patients commonly manifested altered mental status (93%), myoclonus (37%) and non-convulsive seizure epilepticus (28%). A serum cefepime trough level of >20 mg/L would put patients at risk for CIN. CIN-related symptoms were ameliorated in 97.5% by dose reduction or discontinuation of cefepime, with median time to improvement of 3 days. No CIN-associated deaths were reported. CONCLUSIONS: This systematic review summarizes the current evidence and characteristics of CIN. In the current situation where there are no CIN diagnostic criteria and the drug monitoring platform is not routinely available, candidates for cefepime should be carefully selected. Also, based on these findings, it needs to be appropriately dosed to avoid the development of CIN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2908-2921
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Oct 28 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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