Use of breakpoint combination sensitivity testing as a simple and convenient method to evaluate the combined effects of ceftazidime and tobramycin on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia complex isolates in vitro

Michael M Tunney, Eileen M Scott
Journal of Microbiological Methods 2004, 57 (1): 107-14
An in vitro method of determining the activity of antibiotics in combination which is simple and convenient to perform and which could be used routinely in clinical microbiology laboratories is desirable. We investigated the activity, against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia complex clinical isolates, of ceftazidime and tobramycin in combination using a broth macrodilution sensitivity method based on breakpoint minimum inhibitory concentrations and compared the results obtained using this method with those obtained using the microtitre checkerboard method. There was good agreement in interpretation of results between the two methods for both P. aeruginosa (90%) and B. cepacia complex isolates (70%) with tobramycin and for P. aeruginosa isolates (70%) with ceftazidime. As the breakpoint combination sensitivity testing method employs only four tubes and does not require initial determination of individual antibiotic minimum inhibitory concentrations, it is simpler and more convenient for determining the activity of antibiotics in combination than the microtitre checkerboard method. The use of this method in routine microbiology laboratories to determine the activity of antibiotic combinations against clinical isolates should optimise treatment of infection by ensuring that appropriate antibiotic combinations are prescribed.

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