Advances in inhaled antibiotics for management of respiratory tract infections : Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine

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INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Edited by Alimuddin Zumla and David SC Hui

Advances in inhaled antibiotics for management of respiratory tract infections

Riveiro, Vanessaa; Casal, Anaa; Abelleira, Rominaa; Valdés, Luisa,b,c

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Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine 29(3):p 160-167, May 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000952


Purpose of review 

The incidence of bacterial respiratory tract infections is growing. In a context of increasing antibiotic resistance and lack of new classes of antibiotics, inhaled antibiotics emerge as a promising therapeutic strategy. Although they are generally used for cystic fibrosis, their use in other conditions is becoming more frequent, including no-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis, pneumonia and mycobacterial infections.

Recent findings 

Inhaled antibiotics exert beneficial microbiological effects in bronchiectasis and chronic bronchial infection. In nosocomial and ventilator-associated pneumonia, aerosolized antibiotics improve cure rates and bacterial eradication. In refractory Mycobacterium avium complex infections, amikacin liposome inhalation suspension is more effective in achieving long-lasting sputum conversion. In relation to biological inhaled antibiotics (antimicrobial peptides, interfering RNA and bacteriophages), currently in development, there is no still enough evidence that support their use in clinical practice.


The effective antimicrobiological activity of inhaled antibiotics, added to their potential to overcoming resistances to systemic antibiotics, make inhaled antibiotics a plausible alternative.

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