Combination approaches to combat multidrug-resistant bacteria

Trends Biotechnol. 2013 Mar;31(3):177-84. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2012.12.006. Epub 2013 Jan 18.


The increasing prevalence of infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria is a global health problem that has been exacerbated by the dearth of novel classes of antibiotics entering the clinic over the past 40 years. Herein, we describe recent developments toward combination therapies for the treatment of multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. These efforts include antibiotic-antibiotic combinations, and the development of adjuvants that either directly target resistance mechanisms such as the inhibition of β-lactamase enzymes, or indirectly target resistance by interfering with bacterial signaling pathways such as two-component systems (TCSs). We also discuss screening of libraries of previously approved drugs to identify nonobvious antimicrobial adjuvants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Pharmaceutic / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods
  • Humans


  • Adjuvants, Pharmaceutic
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents