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Mayo Clin Proc. 2011 Feb;86(2):156-67. doi: 10.4065/mcp.2010.0639.

General principles of antimicrobial therapy.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Abstract

Antimicrobial agents are some of the most widely, and often injudiciously, used therapeutic drugs worldwide. Important considerations when prescribing antimicrobial therapy include obtaining an accurate diagnosis of infection; understanding the difference between empiric and definitive therapy; identifying opportunities to switch to narrow-spectrum, cost-effective oral agents for the shortest duration necessary; understanding drug characteristics that are peculiar to antimicrobial agents (such as pharmacodynamics and efficacy at the site of infection); accounting for host characteristics that influence antimicrobial activity; and in turn, recognizing the adverse effects of antimicrobial agents on the host. It is also important to understand the importance of antimicrobial stewardship, to know when to consult infectious disease specialists for guidance, and to be able to identify situations when antimicrobial therapy is not needed. By following these general principles, all practicing physicians should be able to use antimicrobial agents in a responsible manner that benefits both the individual patient and the community.

PMID:
21282489
PMCID:
PMC3031442
DOI:
10.4065/mcp.2010.0639
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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