Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) were almost nonexistent up to the 1990s, but are today encountered routinely in hospitals and other healthcare facilities in many countries including the United States. KPC-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae was the first to emerge and spread globally and is endemic in the United States, Israel, Greece, and Italy. Recently, NDM-producing Enterobacteriaceae and OXA-48-producing K. pneumoniae appear to be disseminating from South Asia and Northern Africa, respectively. They are almost always resistant to all β-lactams including carbapenems and many other classes. Mortality from invasive CPE infections reaches up to 40%. To obtain the maximal benefit from the limited options available, dosing of antimicrobial agents should be optimized based on pharmacokinetic data, especially for colistin and carbapenems. In addition, multiple observational studies have associated combination antimicrobial therapy with lower mortality compared with monotherapy for these infections. The outcomes appear to be especially favorable when patients are treated with a carbapenem and a second agent such as colistin, tigecycline, and gentamicin, but the best approach is yet to be defined.
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