The treatment of community-acquired respiratory tract infections, such as acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis (AECB), constitutes a huge socioeconomic burden. In most cases, an antimicrobial agent is advocated to lessen morbidity and prevent serious clinical sequelae. Use of antimicrobial agents for AECB, however, is controversial, as it is difficult to distinguish between bacterial and nonbacterial AECB, and only marginal benefits have been reported. Antimicrobial agents, however, have reduced relapse rates, prolonged the time between exacerbations, shortened the duration of symptoms, and reduced the need for hospitalization. Microbiologic resistance and individual patient characteristics play important roles in determining the most appropriate antimicrobial agent for patients with AECB. More research on the effect of resistant bacteria on antimicrobial response rates will enable physicians to prescribe economically rational antimicrobial therapy for this common infection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology (medical)