UMEM Educational Pearls

Aminoglycosides in Critically Ill Patients

  • Aminoglycosides remain an important class of antibiotics in critically ill patients, especially those infected with multidrug-resistant organisms (i.e., Klebsiella  and Pseudomonas spp.).
  • Importantly, aminoglycosides are concentration-dependent antibiotics and a greatly affected by the increased volume of distribution and altered elimination commonly seen in the critically ill.
  • As a result, recommended doses are often too low to be effective. 
  • Initial doses of aminoglycosides should, therefore, be higher in critically ill patients.
    • Amikacin: 25-30 mg/kg
    • Gentamicin: 7-9 mg/kg
    • Tobramycin: 7-9 mg/kg
  • Subsequent doses are based on drug level monitoring.


Matthaiou DK, et al. What is new in the use of aminoglycosides in critically ill patients? Intensive Care Med 2014; 40:1553-1555.