Piperacillin is a broad-spectrum β-lactam antibiotic of the ureidopenicillin class. The chemical structure of piperacillin and other ureidopenicillins incorporates a polar side chain that enhances penetration into gram-negative bacteria and reduces susceptibility to cleavage by gram-negative beta lactamase enzymes. These properties confer activity against the important hospital pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Thus piperacillin is sometimes referred to as an "anti-pseudomonal penicillin".
|AHFS/Drugs.com||Consumer Drug Information|
|Metabolism||Largely not metabolized|
|Elimination half-life||36–72 minutes|
|Excretion||20% in bile, 80% unchanged in urine|
|CompTox Dashboard (EPA)|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||517.555 g/mol g·mol−1|
|3D model (JSmol)|
It was patented in 1974 and approved for medical use in 1981. Piperacillin is most commonly used in combination with the beta-lactamase inhibitor tazobactam (piperacillin/Tazobactam), which enhances piperacillin's effectiveness by inhibiting many beta lactamases to which it is susceptible. However, the co-administration of tazobactam does not confer activity against MRSA, as penicillins (and most other beta lactams) do not avidly bind to the penicillin-binding proteins of this pathogen.
Piperacillin is used almost exclusively in combination with the beta lactamase inhibitor tazobactam for the treatment of serious, hospital-acquired infections. This combination is among the most widely used drug therapies in United States non-federal hospitals, accounting for $388M in spending in spite of being a low-cost generic drug.
Piperacillin-tazobactam is recommended as part of a three drug regimen for the treatment of hospital-acquired pneumonia suspected as being due to infection by multi-drug resistant pathogens. It is also one of several antibacterials recommended for the treatment of infections known to be caused by anaerobic gram-negative rods.
Piperacillin is not absorbed orally, and must therefore be given by intravenous or intramuscular injection. It has been shown that the bactericidal actions of the drug do not increase with concentrations of piperacillin higher than 4-6 x MIC, which means that the drug is concentration-independent in terms of its actions. Piperacillin has instead shown to offer higher bactericidal activity when its concentration remains above the MIC for longer periods of time (50% time>MIC showing the highest activity). This higher activity present in continuous dosing has not been directly linked to clinical outcomes, but however does show promise of lowering possibility of resistance and decreasing mortality.
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