Management of community-acquired pneumonia in the era of pneumococcal resistance: A report from the drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae Therapeutic Working Group

James D. Heffelfinger, Scott F. Dowell, James H. Jorgensen, Keith P. Klugman, Leah R. Mabry, Daniel M. Musher, Joseph F. Plouffe, Alexander Rakowsky, Anne Schuchat, Cynthia G. Whitney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

590 Scopus citations


Objective: To provide recommendations for the management of community- acquired pneumonia and the surveillance of drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae (DRSP). Methods: We addressed the following questions: (1) Should pneumococcal resistance to β-lactam antimicrobial agents influence pneumonia treatment? (2) What are suitable empirical antimicrobial regimens for outpatient treatment of community-acquired pneumonia in the DRSP era? (3) What are suitable empirical antimicrobial regimens for treatment of hospitalized patients with community-acquired pneumonia in the DRSP era? and (4) How should clinical laboratories report antibiotic susceptibility patterns for S pneumoniae, and what drugs should be included in surveillance if community-acquired pneumonia is the syndrome of interest? Experts in the management of pneumonia and the DRSP Therapeutic Working Group, which includes clinicians, academicians, and public health practitioners, met at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March 1998 to discuss the management of pneumonia in the era of DRSP. Published and unpublished data were summarized from the scientific literature and experience of participants. After group presentations and review of background materials, subgroup chairs prepared draft responses, which were discussed as a group. Conclusions: When implicated in cases of pneumonia, S pneumoniae should be considered susceptible if penicillin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) is no greater than 1 μg/mL, of intermediate susceptibility if MIC is 2 μg/mL, and resistant if MIC is no less than 4 μg/mL. For outpatient treatment of community-acquired pneumonia, suitable empirical oral antimicrobial agents include a macrolide (eg, erythromycin, clarithromycin, azithromycin), doxycycline (or tetracycline) for children aged 8 years or older, or an oral β-lactam with good activity against pneumococci (eg, cefuroxime axetil, amoxicillin, or a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium). Suitable empirical antimicrobial regimens for inpatient pneumonia include an intravenous β-lactam, such as cefuroxime, ceftriaxone sodium, cefotaxime sodium, or a combination of ampicillin sodium and sulbactam sodium plus a macrolide. New fluoroquinolones with improved activity against S pneumoniae can also be used to treat adults with community-acquired pneumonia. To limit the emergence of fluoroquinolone- resistant strains, the new fluoroquinolones should be limited to adults (1) for whom one of the above regimens has already failed, (2) who are allergic to alternative agents, or (3) who have a documented infection with highly drug-resistant pneumococci (eg, penicillin MIC ≥4 μg/mL). Vancomycin hydrochloride is not routinely indicated for the treatment of community- acquired pneumonia or pneumonia caused by DRSP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1399-1408
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Internal Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 22 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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