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General Principles of Antimicrobial Therapy

      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.
      AST ( antimicrobial susceptibility testing), CSF ( cerebrospinal fluid), ESBL ( extended-spectrum β-lactamase), G6PD ( glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase), HIV ( human immunodeficiency virus), MIC ( minimum inhibitory concentration), MRSA ( methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), OPAT ( outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy), UTI ( urinary tract infection)
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      Linked Article

      • Introduction to the Symposium on Antimicrobial Therapy
        Mayo Clinic ProceedingsVol. 86Issue 2
        • In Brief
          In this issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, journal readers will discover the first of 15 articles that constitute the new Symposium on Antimicrobial Therapy.1 The articles will be published sequentially in the monthly issues of the journal, ending in mid-2012. This new symposium is published in part because of readers' requests to once again address antimicrobial drugs, as was done in the Proceedings' Symposium on Antimicrobial Agents, published between October 1998 and February 2000. The new 2011-2012 symposium arrives at an important time for infectious disease management worldwide.
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