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Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2006 Oct;4(5):821-35.

Optimizing the management of community-acquired respiratory tract infections in the age of antimicrobial resistance.

Author information

  • University of Iowa, College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa, USA. gary-doern@uiowa.edu


Community-acquired respiratory tract infections (CARTIs) are the most common reason for prescribing antibiotics in the primary care setting. However, over the last decade, the management of CARTIs has become increasingly complicated by the steady increase in prevalence of drug-resistant pathogens responsible for these infections. As a result, significant attention has been directed at understanding the mechanisms of pathogen acquisition of resistance, drivers of resistance and methods for preventing the development of resistance. Data from recent surveillance studies suggest a slowing or decline in resistance rates to agents, such as beta-lactams, macrolides, tetracyclines and folic acid metabolism inhibitors. However, resistance to one antimicrobial family--the fluoroquinolones--while still low, appears to be on the increase. This is of significant concern given the rapid increase in resistance noted with older antibiotics in recent history. While the clinical implications of antibacterial resistance are poorly understood, the overall rates of antimicrobial resistance, as reported in recent surveillance studies, do not correspond to current rates of failure in patients with CARTIs. This disconnection between laboratory-determined resistance and clinical outcome has been termed the in vitro-in vivo paradox and several explanations have been offered to explain this phenomenon. Solving the problem of antimicrobial resistance will be multifactorial. Important factors in this effort include the education of healthcare providers, patients and the general healthcare community regarding the hazards of inappropriate antibiotic use, prevention of infections through vaccination, development of accurate, inexpensive and timely point-of-care diagnostic tests to aid in patient assessment, institution of objective treatment guidelines and use of more potent agents, especially those with a focused spectrum of activity, earlier in the treatment of CARTIs as opposed to reserving them as second-line treatment options. Ultimately, the single-most important factor will be the judicious use of antibiotics, as fewer antibiotic prescriptions lead to fewer antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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