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Clin Infect Dis. 2006 Jan 1;42 Suppl 1:S5-12.

Vancomycin: a history.

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Department of Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Vancomycin became available for clinical use >50 years ago but was soon discarded in favor of other antibiotics that were deemed to be more efficacious and less toxic. The advent of pseudomembranous enterocolitis, coupled with the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, led to a resurgence in the use of vancomycin. Almost immediately, concerns arose with regard to its therapeutic utility. In addition, resistance to vancomycin developed, first in enterococci and later in staphylococci. Several types of resistance have now been identified, each with a unique effect on infections treated with vancomycin. Recent studies have rekindled interest in the best way to administer the antibiotic. The findings of future studies may result in a return to measuring levels of vancomycin in serum, to assure a successful therapeutic outcome.

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