Vancomycin administration into the cerebrospinal fluid: A review

M. S. Luer, J. Hatton, W. T. Maldonado, C. Fiset

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To discuss administering vancomycin directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to treat serious central nervous system (CNS) infections. DATA SOURCES: References were obtained through an online search of MEDLINE, limited to material published in English. In addition, information was extracted from clinical trials, review articles, abstracts, and textbooks. STUDY SELECTION: Systematic evaluation of this topic in humans has not been done in a prospective manner. Related research articles describing the pathophysiology of CNS infections, intrathecal drug administration, and case reports of CSF vancomycin administration were reviewed. DATA EXTRACTION: Case reports regarding CSF vancomycin dosing were evaluated and included: drug dosing, infecting organism, infectious disease state, infectious outcome, CSF dynamics/flow abnormalities, methods of drug administration, drug monitoring, and toxicities. DATA SYNTHESIS: The results of this review are based on qualitative evaluations of anecdotal case reports and a basic understanding of intrathecal and intraventricular drug dosing principles. CSF administration of vancomycin is an effective means of bypassing the blood-brain barrier to achieve greater drug concentrations within the CSF. Current limitations to the CSF administration of vancomycin include a lack of data describing its safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetics. CONCLUSIONS: CNS infections may require the CSF administration of vancomycin for successful eradication. Recommendations for dosing in the literature vary. Because of the potential toxicities associated with elevated CSF concentrations of vancomycin, dosing should be conservative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-921
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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