Research Article| Volume 157, ISSUE 6, P607-614, June 1989

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A comparison of monobactam antibiotics in surgical infections

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      The introduction of gentamicin almost 20 years ago provided an effective option for the treatment of gram-negative bacillary infections. During the past few years, the availability of aztreonam (a monobactam), imipenem (a carbapenem), and newer cephalosporins within vitro activities comparable with aminoglycosides against many gram-negative bacilli, has stimulated a reassessment of the role of aminoglycosides in treating these infections. When determining the role of new antimicrobials as potential replacements for more established agents, the clinical focus should be on three factors: comparative efficacy, safety, and cost. Consideration of cost is relevant only when efficacy and safety are equivalent. Other factors, such as comparative in vitro antimicrobial activity, pharmacokinetics, and effect on normal flora can also influence the selection of an antimicrobial regimen.
      A new class of antimicrobials, the monobactams, is the focus of this review. The only member of this class currently in clinical use is aztreonam. A comparison with aminoglycosides is particularly relevant because aztreonam is active against aerobic gram-negative bacilli. This review will discuss the acknowledged concerns with aminoglycoside use and compare the characteristics of aztreonam and currently marketed aminoglycosides.
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