The US FDA has approved a new indication for Zerbaxa (ceftolozane and tazobactam, Merck & Co) for the treatment of hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia and ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia (HABP/VABP) in patients 18 years and older. Zerbaxa was previously approved in 2014 to treat complicated intra-abdominal infections and for complicated urinary tract infections.

“A key global challenge we face as a public health agency is addressing the threat of antimicrobial-resistant infections,” said FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD. “Hospital-acquired and ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia are serious infections that can result in death in some patients. New therapies to treat these infections are important to meet patient needs because of increasing antimicrobial resistance. That’s why, among our other efforts to address antimicrobial resistance, we’re focused on facilitating the development of safe and effective new treatments to give patients more options to fight life-threatening infections.”

HABP/VABP occur in patients in hospitals or other health care facilities and can be caused by a variety of bacteria. According to data from the CDC, HABP and VABP are currently the second most common type of hospital-acquired infection in the United States, and are a significant issue in patients in the ICU.

The safety and efficacy of Zerbaxa for the treatment of HABP/VABP, administered via injection, was demonstrated in a multinational, double-blind study that compared Zerbaxa to another antibacterial drug in 726 adult patients hospitalized with HABP/VABP. The study showed that mortality and cure rates were similar between Zerbaxa and the comparator treatment.

The most common adverse reactions observed in the HABP/VABP trial among patients treated with Zerbaxa were elevated liver enzyme levels, renal impairment or failure, and diarrhea.
Zerbaxa should not be used in patients with known serious hypersensitivity to components of Zerbaxa, as well as hypersensitivity to piperacillin/tazobactam or other members of the beta lactam class of antibacterial drugs.