Optimizing antibiotic therapy in the intensive care unit setting

Crit Care. 2001 Aug;5(4):189-95. doi: 10.1186/cc1022. Epub 2001 Jun 28.


Antibiotics are one of the most common therapies administered in the intensive care unit setting. In addition to treating infections, antibiotic use contributes to the emergence of resistance among pathogenic microorganisms. Therefore, avoiding unnecessary antibiotic use and optimizing the administration of antimicrobial agents will help to improve patient outcomes while minimizing further pressures for resistance. This review will present several strategies aimed at achieving optimal use of antimicrobial agents. It is important to note that each intensive care unit should have a program in place which monitors antibiotic utilization and its effectiveness. Only in this way can the impact of interventions aimed at improving antibiotic use (e.g. antibiotic rotation, de-escalation therapy) be evaluated at the local level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Critical Care / standards*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Drug Prescriptions / standards
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Intensive Care Units


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents