Vancomycin for treatment of invasive, multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections

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Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterial pathogen responsible for a variety of serious infections and is a frequent cause of nosocomial disease. During the last 60 years, S. aureus has developed increasing in vitro resistance to virtually all antimicrobials. In contrast, vancomycin has maintained a high degree of activity in vitro against this pathogen, although slight changes with in vitro activity could vastly change clinical activity. As a result, vancomycin has become the mainstay of therapy for invasive infections due to methicillin-resistant strains. However, clinical strains of S. aureus with intermediate resistance to vancomycin were reported in 1996, followed in 2002 with reports of isolates that were fully resistant. Although many authorities believe vancomycin remains the drug of choice for most staphylococcal-resistant infections, important issues surrounding its clinical application remain. These include the need for multiple daily dosing, intravenous administration, requirements for serum concentration monitoring, increasing resistance in vitro, modest efficacy rates and (less frequently) treatment-limiting adverse effects. This review addresses these important topics.

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