Resistant 'Superbugs' Create Need for Novel Antibiotics

Teri Capriotti, DO, MSN, CRNP

Disclosures

Dermatology Nursing. 2007;19(1):65-70. 

In This Article

Conclusion

Superbug resistance is escalating within the clinical setting and community at large. In novative antibiotic strategies are still lacking within the pharmaceutical industry to keep pace with the growing resistance, with a glaring absence of any novel class of antibacterial drug in the United States for decades. Most new antibiotics are chemical modifications of existing drugs and are quickly outsmarted by the bacteria in the environment. Clinicians are challenged by some strains of bacteria which are resistant to essentially all available antimicrobial agents. New antibiotics must be used with precision after the infectious organism is identified by culture and sensitivity testing. Using the exact antibiotic which specifically targets the identified organism is a key strategy to limit bacterial resistance.

In addition, health care pro viders must use all precautions to prevent spread of infection. Infection control procedures are essential. Health care pro viders need education regarding organism-specific guidelines. Ag gressive hand hygiene, use of gloves and gowns, patient isolation, and dedicated patient equipment are some of the recommended strategies. Im muni zation of susceptible individuals with pneumococcal conjugate vaccine can stave off serious drug-resistant pneumonia. Nurses can find succinct organism-specific MRSA and VRE precautions online (http://info.med.yale.edu/ynhh/infection/guidelines).Information about the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine can be obtained from the CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/nip).

Nurses are responsible for administering the new antibiotics to combat infections caused by superbugs. Increasing numbers of new agents are available and in clinical trials. All of the agents have different pharmacokinetics, routes of administration, and potential side effects. In addition to implementing infection control procedures, nurses will need to review specific prescribing information of new antibiotics. All health care providers, particularly in medical-surgical and critical care settings, need educational programs which disseminate information about new antibiotics and reinforce infection control procedures.

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