Question 16

Describe the pharmacology of piperacillin-tazobactam.

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College Answer

Most candidates used a structured approach with the usual major pharmacology headings. Mechanism of action was well described by most, with better answers including mechanisms of resistance. Higher scoring candidates included an explanation as to the combination of the drugs. Likewise, better answers included detailed information on spectrum of activity beyond “gram positive and gram negative”, including relevant groups of organisms which are not covered. There also seemed to be some confusion about coverage for anaerobes, which piperacillin tazobactam covers well.
Specific detail about adverse reactions, other than ‘allergy, rash, GI upset, phlebitis, etc’, is expected for commonly used antibiotics.