Quinupristin-dalfopristin is a combination of two streptogramins—quinupristin, a streptogramin B, and dalfopristin, a streptogramin A—in a 30:70 ratio. The streptogramins share the same ribosomal binding site as the macrolides and clindamycin and thus inhibit protein synthesis in an identical manner. It is rapidly bactericidal for most susceptible organisms except Enterococcus faecium, which is killed slowly. Quinupristin-dalfopristin is active against gram-positive cocci, including multidrug-resistant strains of strep-tococci, penicillin-resistant strains of S pneumoniae, methicillin-susceptible and -resistant strains of staphylococci, and E faecium (but not Enterococcus faecalis). Resistance is due to modification of the quinupristin binding site (MLS-B type resistance), enzymatic inactivation of dalfopristin, or efflux.
Quinupristin-dalfopristin is administered intravenously at a dosage of 7.5 mg/kg every 8–12 hours. Peak serum concentrations following an infusion of 7.5 mg/kg over 60 minutes are 3 mcg/mL for quinupristin and 7 mcg/mL for dalfopristin. Quinupristin and dalfopristin are rapidly metabolized, with half-lives of 0.85 and 0.7 hours, respectively. Elimination is principally by the fecal route. Dose adjustment is not necessary for renal failure, perito-neal dialysis, or hemodialysis. Patients with hepatic insufficiency may not tolerate the drug at usual doses, however, because of increased area under the concentration curve of both parent drugs and metabolites. This may necessitate a dose reduction to 7.5 mg/ kg every 12 hours or 5 mg/kg every 8 hours. Quinupristin and dalfopristin significantly inhibit CYP3A4, which metabolizes warfarin, diazepam, astemizole, terfenadine, cisapride, nonnucleo-side reverse transcriptase inhibitors, and cyclosporine, among others. Dosage reduction of cyclosporine may be necessary.
Quinupristin-dalfopristin is approved for treatment of infections caused by staphylococci or by vancomycin-resistant strains of E faecium, but not E faecalis, which is intrinsically resistant, prob-ably because of an efflux-type resistance mechanism. The principal toxicities are infusion-related events, such as pain at the infusion site, and an arthralgia-myalgia syndrome.