Vancomycin: understanding its past and preserving its future.

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Vancomycin: understanding its past and preserving its future.

South Med J. 2008 Mar;101(3):284-91

Authors: Levine DP

The increase in vancomycin use in the 1980s to treat antibiotic-associated colitis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is largely responsible for the appearance of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, which in turn spawned isolated cases of vancomycin-resistant S. aureus. Perhaps most worrisome to clinicians are strains of MRSA that are heteroresistant to vancomycin; these isolates are difficult to detect. Appropriate use of vancomycin coupled with awareness of infection control measures is paramount to abrogating the emergence of new vancomycin-resistant MRSA organisms and preserving its future efficacy. The continued reliance on vancomycin for the treatment of MRSA infections will depend on whether vancomycin resistance can be minimized. Newer antibacterial agents, particularly those with activity toward MRSA and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, such as linezolid, quinupristin/dalfopristin, daptomycin, and tigecycline, may take a more prominent clinical role when gram-positive bacteria resistance to vancomycin further escalate.

PMID: 18364659 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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