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Drugs. 1991 Dec;42(6):962-73.

Drug treatment of pneumonia in the hospital. What are the choices?

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Service de M├ędecine, Institut Jules Bordet, Brussels, Belgium.


Mortality and morbidity of nosocomial pneumonia remain high. Successful treatment of pulmonary infections depends on several factors including type of infection, offending pathogen, status of host defences, and adequate choice of antibiotic therapy. The physician's decision should aim at achieving antibiotic concentrations beyond the MIC at the site of infection. Gram-negative bacilli, notably Pseudomonos aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli, remain the most frequent agents in nosocomial pneumonia. Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae predominate among the Gram-positive cocci. Pneumocystis carinii predominates in immunocompromised patients. Protected sample bronchoscopy associated with quantitative cultures of samples, and quantification of intracellular microorganisms in cells recovered by broncho-alveolar lavage are two promising procedures which might replace previous, more aggressive methods. Penetration of antibiotics into lung tissue depends on physicochemical properties of the drug and the degree of inflammation of lung tissue. Quinolones, macrolides, tetracyclines and trimethoprim penetrate well into bronchial secretions. Penetration is moderate to low for aminoglycosides and beta-lactams. Fluoroquinolones and new beta-lactam agents, including third-generation cephalosporins imipenem, aztreonam and ticarcillin-clavulanate, showed comparative clinical efficacy in treatment of nosocomial pneumonia, with an efficacy rate close to 80%. Aminoglycosides should not be used alone. Combination therapy reduces but does not eliminate the risk of selection of Gram-negative resistant mutants. It should not be used routinely except for P. aeruginosa, Enterobacter cloacae and Serratia marcescens infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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