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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2006 Mar;27(3):224-8. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

In vitro activities of non-traditional antimicrobials alone or in combination against multidrug-resistant strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii isolated from intensive care units.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease, Baskent University Faculty of Medicine, Fevzi Cakmak Caddesi 5. sokak No: 45, 06490 Bahcelievler, Ankara, Turkey.


The aim of this study was to assess the in vitro activity of a number of non-traditional antibiotics (colistin, azithromycin, doxycycline and rifampicin) against multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii isolated from Intensive Care Units (ICUs). We also used the checkerboard method to determine whether combinations of colistin with another non-traditional antibiotic or meropenem act synergistically against these strains. Thirty-five P. aeruginosa and 25 A. baumannii strains that were found to be MDR were included the study. Isolates were collected from the specimens of patients in ICUs from 2001 to 2003. All isolates were identified by standard methods and stored at -20 degrees C until use. Antibiotic powders of azithromycin, doxycycline, rifampicin, meropenem and colistin were obtained from their manufacturers. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were determined by the agar dilution method on Mueller-Hinton agar. Five strains of A. baumannii and five strains of P. aeruginosa, all of which had different MIC values for colistin, were selected for the synergy study using the checkerboard titration method. The susceptibility results for doxycycline and meropenem were interpreted according to National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards guidelines. The susceptibility breakpoints for colistin and rifampicin were established as 4 mg/L and 2 mg/L, respectively, based on previous studies. Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 27853 and Escherichia coli ATCC 25922 were used as control strains. Testing against the P. aeruginosa strains revealed high MIC50 values for all the drugs except colistin. Doxycycline and colistin were both effective against the A. baumannii strains, with high susceptibility rates of 92% and 100%, respectively. Azithromycin had a high MIC50 value against these strains, whilst rifampicin had a moderate effect (susceptibility rate 64%). The combination of colistin and rifampicin was fully synergistic against four A. baumannii and two P. aeruginosa strains. Combinations of colistin with meropenem and of colistin with azithromycin each showed synergistic activity against three A. baumannii isolates, whilst the same combinations resulted in generally additive or indifferent effects against P. aeruginosa strains. The colistin and doxycycline combination was generally partially synergistic or additive against all the isolates. MDR strains of P. aeruginosa and A. baumannii, which cause nosocomial infections with an increasing ratio in recent years, have limited treatment options. According to our in vitro study results, non-traditional antibiotics such as doxycycline and colistin can be an alternative for the treatment of infections caused by these strains. Combinations of colistin with non-traditional antibiotics or meropenem could be promising alternatives for the treatment of infections due to MDR strains of A. baumannii and P. aeruginosa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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