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Antimicrobial AgentsAntimicrobial agents are medications used to kill or prevent the growth of microbes. There are numerous types of infections that patients may present with; therefore, it is essential for practitioners to be able to assess the underlying cause of the infections and identify the properagent of choice to treat the infection. Many factors must be considered when determining the proper drug for treatment including the causative agent, efficacy of treatment, cost, toxicity and pharmacokinetics (Arcangelo, Peterson, Wilbur, & Reinhold, 2017). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the categories of antimicrobial agents, explain the differences between viral and bacterial infections, and discuss how proper identification of viral and bacterial agents is essential to selecting the proper antimicrobial agent to treat infections. Antimicrobial AgentsAntimicrobial agents are placed into categories according to what type of microorganism they act against (Laureate Education, Inc, 2012). The different categories of antimicrobials are the antibiotics, antifungals, antiprotozoals, antivirals, and antimycobacterial agents, which will be discussed below (Chung et al., 2016). Cell Wall Synthesis InhibitorsCell wall synthesis inhibitors are a class of antibiotics that work by inhibiting or interfering with the cell wall synthesis of the target bacteria (Sarkar, Yarlagadda, Ghosh, & Haldar, 2017). This class of medications is historically one of the most effective and extensively used classes of antibiotics (Sarkar et al., 2017). Antibiotics within this group of medications include the penicillins, cephalosporins, vancomycin, beta-lactamase inhibitors, carbapenems, aztreonam, polymycin, and bacitracin (Sarkar et al., 2017). Cephalosporins are one of the most commonly prescribed group of cell wall synthesis inhibitors. They belong to the beta-lactam
group of antibiotics (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Cephalosporins disrupt the synthesis of the peptidoglycan layer of bacterial cell wall (Chung et al., 2016). Cephalosporins are categorized by generation. There are four generations of cephalosporins. The newer generations of cephalosporins have greater gram-negative antimicrobial effectiveness than the generation before(Sarkar et al., 2017). Cephalosporins are generally absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Cephalosporins are used to treat a wide variety or conditions, including