Previous experience with antimicrobial resistance has emphasized the importance of appropriate stewardship of these pharmacotherapeutic agents. The introduction of fluoroquinolones provided potent new drugs directed primarily against gram-negative pathogens, while the newer members of this class demonstrate more activity against gram-positive species, including Streptococcus pneumoniae. Although these agents are clinically effective against a broad range of infectious agents, emergence of resistance and associated clinical failures have prompted reexamination of their use. Appropriate use revolves around two key objectives: 1) only prescribing antimicrobial therapy when it is beneficial and 2) using the agents with optimal activity against the expected pathogens. Pharmacodynamic principles and properties can be applied to achieve the latter objective when prescribing agents belonging to the fluoroquinolone class. A focused approach emphasizing "correct-spectrum" coverage may reduce development of antimicrobial resistance and maintain class efficacy.