International guidelines for the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia in adults: the role of macrolides.


International guidelines for the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia in adults: the role of macrolides.


File Thomas M Jr; Tan James S






The significance of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) has led to the publication of guidelines from numerous international organisations. Because the macrolide class of antimicrobials is active against most of the key pathogens associated with CAP, agents from this class are commonly included in recommendations from these guidelines. However, there are differences among the various guidelines concerning the positioning of the macrolides for empirical therapy. An important factor concerning the use of macrolides for CAP is the emergence of resistance of Streptococcus pneumoniae over the past decade. The rate of S. pneumoniae resistance to macrolides ranges from 4 to 70% of strains in worldwide surveillance studies. The most common mechanisms of resistance include methylation of a ribosomal target encoded by the erm gene and efflux of the macrolides by a cell membrane protein transporter, encoded by the mef gene. S. pneumoniae strains with the mef gene are resistant at a lower level (with minimum inhibitory concentration [MIC] values generally 1-16 microg/ml) than erm resistant strains; and it is possible that such strains may be inhibited if sufficiently high levels of macrolide can be obtained at the infected site. Currently mef-associated resistance predominates in North America, whereas erm predominates in Europe. Until recently, reports of failure of treatment of CAP with macrolides has been rare, particularly for patients with low-risk for drug-resistant strains. However, since 2000, several patients treated with an oral macrolide who have subsequently required admission to the hospital for macrolide-resistant S. pneumoniae (MRSP) bacteraemia have been reported in the literature. Major issues, which are fundamental to the use of the macrolides as recommended in the various guidelines, include the importance of providing therapy for 'atypical' pathogens and the clinical significance of MRSP. Presently, the macrolides are more prominently recommended in the North American guidelines than in other parts of the world. The difference in the emphasis placed on the importance of the atypical pathogens as well as the expression of MRSP in North America compared with Europe partly explains this variance.


Adult; Humans; Microbial Sensitivity Tests; Anti-Infective Agents/*therapeutic use; Outpatients; Practice Guidelines as Topic; Clinical Trials as Topic; Community-Acquired Infections/drug therapy/microbiology; Treatment Failure; Inpatients; Macrolides/pharmacology/*therapeutic use; Drug Resistance; Pneumonia; Bacterial; Bacterial/*drug therapy/microbiology; Adjuvants; Immunologic/pharmacology/therapeutic use


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File Thomas M Jr; Tan James S, “International guidelines for the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia in adults: the role of macrolides.,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed July 21, 2024,