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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Michalopoulos A. S. 1, Falagas M. E. 2, 3
1 Intensive Care Unit, Henry Dunant Hospital, Athens, Greece;
2 Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences (AIBS), Athens, Greece;
3 Department of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
During the last decade, inhaled antibiotics, especially colistin, has been widely used worldwide as a therapeutic option, supplementary to conventional intravenous antibiotics, for the treatment of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Gram-negative nosocomial and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). Antimicrobial aerosols are commonly used in mechanically ventilated patients with VAP, although information regarding their efficacy and optimal technique of administration has been limited. Recent studies showed that the administration of inhaled antibiotics in addition to systemic antibiotics provided encouraging results associated with low toxicity for the management of VAP mainly due to MDR Gram negative bacteria. Although the theory behind aerosolized administration of antibiotics seems to be sound, there are limited data available to support the routine use of this modality since very few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have still examined the efficacy of this approach in patients with VAP. Additionally, this route of antibiotic delivery has not been approved until now neither by the FDA nor by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) in patients with VAP. However, since the problem of VAP due to MDR bacteria has been increased worldwide RCTs are urgently needed in order to prove the safety, efficiency and efficacy of inhaled antimicrobial agents administered alone or in conjunction with parenteral antibiotics for the management of VAP in critically ill patients. Indeed, more data are needed to establish the appropriate role of inhaled antibiotics for the treatment of VAP.