Dynamics of the QTc interval over a 24-h dose interval after start of intravenous ciprofloxacin or low-dose erythromycin administration in ICU patients

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QTc interval prolongation is an adverse effect associated with the use of fluoroquinolones and macrolides. Ciprofloxacin and erythromycin are both frequently prescribed QTc-prolonging drugs in critically ill patients. Critically ill patients may be more vulnerable to developing QTc prolongation, as several risk factors can be present at the same time. Therefore, it is important to know the QTc-prolonging potential of these drugs in the intensive care unit (ICU) population. The aim of this study was to assess the dynamics of the QTc interval over a 24-hour dose interval during intravenous ciprofloxacin and low-dose erythromycin treatment. Therefore, an observational study was performed in ICU patients (≥18 years) receiving ciprofloxacin 400 mg t.i.d. or erythromycin 100 mg b.i.d. intravenously. Continuous ECG data were collected from 2 h before to 24 h after the first administration. QT-analyses were performed using high-end holter software. The effect was determined with a two-sample t-test for clustered data on all QTc values. A linear mixed model by maximum likelihood was applied, for which QTc values were assessed for the available time intervals and therapy. No evident effect over time on therapy with ciprofloxacin and erythromycin was observed on QTc time. There was no significant difference (p = 0.22) in QTc values between the ciprofloxacin group (mean 393 ms) and ciprofloxacin control group (mean 386 ms). The erythromycin group (mean 405 ms) and erythromycin control group (mean 404 ms) neither showed a significant difference (p = 0.80). In 0.6% of the registrations (1.138 out of 198.270 samples) the duration of the QTc interval was longer than 500 ms. The index groups showed slightly more recorded QTc intervals over 500 ms. To conclude, this study could not identify differences in the QTc interval between the treatments analyzed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00865
JournalPharmacology Research and Perspectives
Issue number6
Early online date25 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank M.J.B. van Ettinger for his contribution to this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Pharmacology Research & Perspectives published by British Pharmacological Society and American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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