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Emergence of Antibiotic-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Comparison of Risks Associated with Different Antipseudomonal Agents

American Society for Microbiology
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  • Mechanisms Of Resistance
  • Mathematics


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a leading cause of nosocomial infections. The risk of emergence of antibiotic resistance may vary with different antibiotic treatments. To compare the risks of emergence of resistance associated with four antipseudomonal agents, ciprofloxacin, ceftazidime, imipenem, and piperacillin, we conducted a cohort study, assessing relative risks for emergence of resistant P. aeruginosa in patients treated with any of these drugs. A total of 271 patients (followed for 3,810 days) with infections due to P. aeruginosa were treated with the study agents. Resistance emerged in 28 patients (10.2%). Adjusted hazard ratios for the emergence of resistance were as follows: ceftazidime, 0.7 (P = 0.4); ciprofloxacin, 0.8 (P = 0.6); imipenem, 2.8 (P = 0.02); and piperacillin, 1.7 (P = 0.3). Hazard ratios for emergence of resistance to each individual agent associated with treatment with the same agent were as follows: ceftazidime, 0.8 (P = 0.7); ciprofloxacin, 9.2 (P = 0.04); imipenem, 44 (P = 0.001); and piperacillin, 5.2 (P = 0.01). We concluded that there were evident differences among antibiotics in the likelihood that their use would allow emergence of resistance in P. aeruginosa. Ceftazidime was associated with the lowest risk, and imipenem had the highest risk.

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