The monobactam antibiotics are synthetic compounds, although monocyclic beta-lactam compounds have been found in nature in various soil bacteria. Although additional orally and parenterally administered monobactams are under investigation, the first marketed monobactam was aztreonam. This agent has an antimicrobial spectrum similar to that of gentamicin and tobramycin, aminoglycoside antibiotics. Aztreonam, however, is not nephrotoxic, is weakly immunogenic, and has not been associated with disorders of coagulation. Aztreonam may be administered intramuscularly or intravenously; absorption after oral administration is poor. The primary route of elimination is the urine. The serum half-life of the drug in patients with normal renal function is 1.5 to 2.1 hours; the recommended dosing interval in patients with normal renal function is every 8 hours. Dosage adjustment is necessary in patients with renal impairment. The strictly gram-negative aerobic spectrum of aztreonam limits its use as a single empiric agent. Approved indications for its use include infections of the urinary tract or lower respiratory tract, intra-abdominal and gynecologic infections, septicemia, and cutaneous infections caused by susceptible organisms. Concurrent initial therapy with other antimicrobial agents is recommended before the causative organism (or organisms) has been determined in patients who are seriously ill and at risk for gram-positive or anaerobic infections.