Of all the medications available to physicians worldwide, antibiotics play an essential role in inpatient and outpatient settings. Discovered in the early nineteenth century by Alexander Fleming, penicillin was the first antibiotic isolated from a mold. Dr. Gerhard Domagk developed synthetic sulfa drugs by altering the red dye used in chemical industries. Since then, multiple antibiotic classes have been discovered with varying antimicrobial effects enabling their use empirically or in specific clinical scenarios. Antibiotics with different mechanisms of action could be either bactericidal or bacteriostatic. However, no clinical significance has been observed between cidal and static antibiotics in multiple trials. Their presence has led to safer deep invasive surgeries, advanced chemotherapy in cancer, and organ transplantation. Indiscriminate usage of antibiotics has resulted in severe hospital-acquired infections, including nosocomial pneumonia, Clostridioides difficile infection, multidrug-resistant invasive bacterial infections, allergic reactions, and other significant side effects. Antibiotic stewardship is an essential process in the modern era to advocate judicial use of antibiotics for an appropriate duration. They play a vital role in medical and surgical intensive care units to address the various complications seen in these patients. Antibiotics are crucial in severe acute infections to improve overall mortality and morbidity.
Part of the book: Infections and Sepsis Development