2Antimicrobial AgentsAntimicrobials are used to treat infections that comprise bacterial, fungi, and protozoan microorganisms. The spread of disease is prevented when the proper antimicrobial is used. Therefore, it is essential to identify the pathogen causing the illness and determine if it is bacterial or viral before therapy is selected. The purpose of this paper is to describe the categories of antimicrobial agents, differentiate between viral and bacterial infections, and explain the importance of properly identifying viral and bacterial pathogens when selecting antimicrobial medications.Categories of Antimicrobial AgentsThroughout the years since the first antibiotic was developed, many more have been created to treat infections. Due to the numerous categories of antimicrobials available, it is necessary to understand their efficacy, toxicity, pharmacokinetic profile, and cost to help select the most appropriate therapy (Arcangelo, Peterson, Wilbur, & Reinhold, 2017). The categories of antimicrobials are described below.PenicillinPenicillin inhibits bacterial cell growth by interfering with cell wall synthesis (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Most penicillins must be given intravenously since they are unstable in an acid environment (Arcangelo et al., 2017). When inflammation occurs, they penetrate the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and have a wide distribution throughout the body (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), upper and lower respiratory tract, urinary tract, central nervous system infections are treated with penicillins (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Pseudomonas aeruginosainfections are successfully treated with carboxypenicillins and ureidopenicillins (Arcangelo et al., 2017). A maculopapular rash and urticaria can develop with
3hypersensitivity to penicillins, and gastrointestinal (GI) side effects are typical with oral administration (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Beta-Lactam/Beta-Lactamase InhibitorsBeta-lactamase inhibitors such a clavulanic acid was combined with beta-lactam penicillin resistance developed due to the beta-lactamase enzymes that are produced by bacteria (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Beta-lactam is broken down by the enzymes; however, the beta-lactamase inhibitors stop the breakdown from occurring by interfering with cell wall synthesis bybinding to penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) and inactivating them (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Since beta-lactam/beta-lactamase inhibitors have a broad spectrum of activity, they are useful in treating polymicrobial infections, intraabdominal and gynecological infections, and skin and soft tissue infections (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Nausea and diarrhea are side effects of oral therapy and hypersensitivity can occur for some individuals. Parenteral aminoglycosides and beta-lactam/beta-lactamase inhibitors are not compatible with each other (Arcangelo et al., 2017).