J Korean Med Assoc.  2022 Aug;65(8):490-497. 10.5124/jkma.2022.65.8.490.

Antibiotics for multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria

  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Increase in antimicrobial-resistant bacteria continues to be challenge to physicians. Particularly, multidrug-resistant (MDR) gram-negative bacilli (GNB), such as extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producers and carbapenem-resistant pathogens, are becoming a major human health problem globally.
Current Concepts
Gram-negative bacteria have developed resistance via mechanisms encoding AmpC beta-lactamases, ESBLs, and carbapenemases. The therapeutic options available for these pathogens are extremely limited. Infection by MDR bacteria is associated with ineffective antimicrobial therapy, which poses a major threat to the survival of patients with serious infections. Physicians should be familiar with the local epidemiology of MDR bacterial infections and the available therapeutic options. Carbapenems are considered as the drugs of choice for treating ESBL or AmpC-producers. However, increased use of carbapenems in response to an increased prevalence of MDR pathogens could be associated with the rapid emergence of carbapenem resistance. Therefore, there is an ongoing quest for carbapenem-sparing regimens for the treatment of MDR-GNB. Treatment of MDR-GNB infections need not be limited to carbapenems as novel antimicrobial agents are now available.
Discussion and Conclusion
This comprehensive review aims to describe therapeutic options available for MDR-GNB infections in Korea, a country with a high prevalence of MDR pathogens. Recently developed antimicrobial agents that should be urgently introduced in Korea include ceftolozane-tazobactam, ceftazidime-avibactam, meropenem-vaborbactam, imipenem-relebactam, and cefiderocol. These drugs have been shown to be effective against carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales, carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Acinetobacter baumannii.


Anti-bacterial agents; Bacterial drug resistance; Gram-negative bacteria; Beta-lactamase inhibitors; 항생제; 항생제내성; 그람음성균; 베타락탐분해효소억제제
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