Meropenem vs Cefotaxime as Empirical Treatment of SBP


We aimed to evaluate whether meropenem is superior to cefotaxime for treatment of SBP empirically.

Full Title of Study: “Meropenem vs Cefotaxime as Empirical Treatment of Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis :Prospective Randomized Clinical Trial”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: Double (Participant, Care Provider)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: January 2024

Detailed Description

Ascites is the most frequent complication of cirrhosis and represents a significant change for the patient because the impact on mortality and quality of life is important. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) is a dreaded complication in patients with decompensated cirrhosis. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) is the most frequent and life-threatening infection in patients with liver cirrhosis requiring prompt recognition and treatment. It is defined by the presence of >250 polymorphonuclear cells (PMN)/mm3 in ascites in the absence of an intra-abdominal source of infection or malignancy. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis carries a mortality rate of 30 to 70% in patients with end-stage liver and kidney disease. Choice of antibiotic is dependent on type of microbes responsible for infection. Gram negative enteric bacteria are considered the most common pathogens responsible for SBP. This is the reason, 3rd generation cephalosporins are the recommended drugs of choice for treating SBP empirically. But recent studies have shown that Cephalosporins are effective only in 70% of community acquired and 56% of hospital acquired SBP.It is most likely due to changing bacterial pathogens of SBP over last two decades as now gram positive bacteria and multi drug resistance organism (MDRO) are increasingly being isolated in SBP. It is the consequence of undue, over the counter misuse of cephalosporins in community and frequent exposure of cirrhosis patients to these drugs during recurrent hospital admissions.


  • Drug: cefotaxime
    • One group will be given cefotaxime and another group meropenem. The efficacy of antibiotic therapy will be checked with: Follow-up paracentesis after 48 hours of initiation of empiric antibiotic treatment showing reduction in neutrophil count of at least 25% . Decrease of peritoneal fluid PMN count to < 250 cells/μ at end of treatment and negative previously positive ascitic fluid culture.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: cefotaxime
    • ceotaxime 2g iv /8hr
  • Experimental: meropenem
    • meropenem 1g iv /8hr

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Response to treatment within 5 days
    • Time Frame: 5 days
    • The response to therapy is defined as the reduction of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) count in ascitic fluid more than 25 % from baseline after 48 hours and as a PMN count in ascitic fluid less then 250/mm³ after 5 days

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Liver cirrhosis patients with ascites Ascitic fluid PMN cell count >250/mm3 Age: 18:80 Exclusion Criteria:

  • : history of abdominal surgery within 4 weeks, secondary peritonitis, tuberculous peritonitis, Malignant tumor, patients who use hormones or immunosuppressants, AIDS patients.

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 80 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Assiut University
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Taha Hussein Kawashty Abdelrahman, doctor – Assiut University
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Taha hussein Abdelrahman, resident, +201114236391,

Citations Reporting on Results

Finci L, Mouraux S, Knuchel J, Bochatay L. [Initial management of new onset ascites in patient with cirrhosis]. Rev Med Suisse. 2017 Sep 6;13(573):1509-1515. Review. French.

Sarwar S, Tarique S, Waris U, Khan AA. Cephalosporin resistance in community acquired spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. Pak J Med Sci. 2019 Jan-Feb;35(1):4-9. doi: 10.12669/pjms.35.1.17.

Wiest R, Krag A, Gerbes A. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis: recent guidelines and beyond. Gut. 2012 Feb;61(2):297-310. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2011-300779. Epub 2011 Dec 6. Review. Erratum in: Gut. 2012 Apr;61(4):636.

Ameer MA, Foris LA, Mandiga P, Haseeb M. Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis. 2021 Dec 29. StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from

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