What is the recommended treatment for a severely ill patient with features of sepsis, respiratory failure, or neutropenia in the setting of bacterial pneumonia?

Updated: Sep 30, 2020
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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When a severely ill patient has features of sepsis and/or respiratory failure, and/or when neutropenia is known or suspected, treatment with an intravenous macrolide is combined with an intravenous third-generation cephalosporin and vancomycin. An alternative regimen may include imipenem, meropenem, or piperacillin and tazobactam plus a macrolide and vancomycin. A fulminant course also must raise the suspicion of infection with Legionella or Mycoplasma species, Hantavirus, psittacosis, or Q fever.

Fluoroquinolones, including levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, and gatifloxacin, may also be used. These agents are available in oral and parenteral forms and have convenient dosing regimens, which allow easier conversion to oral therapy that results in good patient compliance. Note that in July 2008, a warning was issued from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the risk of tendonitis and tendon rupture with fluoroquinolone use. [78]

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