The treatment of infection typically involves administration of antibiotics by a systemic route, such as intravenous or oral. However, pulmonary infections can also be approached by inhalation of antibiotics as the infection is more directly accessible via the airways, making inhalation delivery essentially topical administration. This approach offers deposition of high antimicrobial concentrations directly at the site of infection but with a potentially reduced systemic exposure. This review covers the evidence for aerosolized antibiotics for the treatment of a number of conditions such as cystic fibrosis (CF), where it has become the standard of care for chronic infection, as well as non-CF bronchiectasis, non-tuberculous mycobacteria, and ventilator-associated infection where such therapy does not have an approved indication but has been used with increasing frequency.
Keywords: Aerosol; Bronchiectasis; Cystic fibrosis; Inhaled antibiotics; Mycobacteria; Pneumocystis.
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