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Pharmacotherapy. 2015 Oct;35(10):949-62. doi: 10.1002/phar.1636.

Infections Caused by Resistant Gram-Negative Bacteria: Epidemiology and Management.

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Department of Medicine, Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University, University Health Center, Detroit, Michigan.
Department of Pharmacy, Sinai-Grace Hospital, Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan.


Infections caused by resistant gram-negative bacteria are becoming increasingly prevalent and now constitute a serious threat to public health worldwide because they are difficult to treat and are associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. In the United States, there has been a steady increase since 2000 in rates of extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, and multidrug-resistant strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii, particularly among hospitalized patients with intraabdominal infections, urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and bacteremia. Colonization with resistant gram-negative bacteria is common among residents in long-term care facilities (particularly those residents with an indwelling device), and these facilities are considered important originating sources of such strains for hospitals. Antibiotic resistance is associated with a substantial clinical and economic burden, including increased mortality, greater hospital and antibiotic costs, and longer stays in hospitals and intensive care units. Control of resistant gram-negative infections requires a comprehensive approach, including strategies for risk factor identification, detection and identification of resistant organisms, and implementation of infection-control and prevention strategies. In treating resistant gram-negative infections, a review of surveillance data and hospital-specific antibiograms, including resistance patterns within local institutions, and consideration of patient characteristics are helpful in guiding the choice of empiric therapy. Although only a few agents are available with activity against resistant gram-negative organisms, two recently released β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor combinations - ceftolozane/tazobactam and ceftazidime/avibactam - have promising activity against these organisms. In this article, we review the epidemiology, risk factors, and antibiotic resistance mechanisms of gram-negative organisms. In addition, an overview of treatment options for patients with these infections is provided.


avibactam; carbapenemase; ceftolozane; extended-spectrum β-lactamase; gram-negative bacteria; multidrug resistance

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