Current Use for Old Antibacterial Agents: Polymyxins, Rifamycins, and Aminoglycosides

Publication year: 2011
Source: Medical Clinics of North America, Volume 95, Issue 4, July 2011, Pages 819-842

Luke F., Chen , Donald, Kaye

This article reviews three classes of antibacterial agents that are uncommonly used in bacterial infections and therefore can be thought of as special-use agents. The polymyxins are reserved for gram-negative bacilli that are resistant to virtually all other classes of drugs. Rifampin is used therapeutically, occasionally as a companion drug in treatment of refractory gram-positive coccal infections, especially those involving foreign bodies. Rifaximin is a new rifamycin that is a strict enteric antibiotic approved for treatment of traveler’s diarrhea and is showing promise as a possible agent for refractory Clostridium difficile infections. The aminoglycosides are used mainly as companion drugs for the treatment of resistant gram-negative bacillary infections and for gram-positive coccal endocarditis.