Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Lancet Infect Dis. 2001 Sep;1(2):101-14.

Effect of antimicrobial agents on the ecological balance of human microflora.

Author information

  • 1Department of Microbiology, Pathology, and Immunology, Huddinge University Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, and Söderköping Högskola, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

The normal microflora acts as a barrier against colonisation of potentially pathogenic microorganisms and against overgrowth of already present opportunistic microorganisms. Control of growth of opportunistic microorganisms is termed colonisation resistance. Administration of antimicrobial agents, therapeutically or as prophylaxis, causes disturbances in the ecological balance between the host and the normal microflora. Most studies on the impact of antimicrobial agents on normal microflora have been carried out on the intestinal flora. Less is known on the effects on oropharyngeal, skin, and vaginal microflora. Disturbances in the microflora depend on the properties of the agents as well as of the absorption, route of elimination, and possible enzymatic inactivation and/or binding to faecal material of the agents. The clinically most common disturbances in the intestinal microflora are diarrhoea and fungal infections that usually cease after the end of treatment. A well-balanced microflora prevents establishment of resistant microbial strains. By using antimicrobial agents that do not disturb colonisation resistance, the risk of emergence and spread of resistant strains between patients and dissemination of resistant determinants between microorganisms is reduced. In this article, the potential ecological effects of administration of antimicrobial agents on the intestinal, oropharyngeal, and vaginal microflora are summarised. The review is based on clinical studies published during the past 10 years.

PMID:
11871461
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk