A multitude of antimicrobial drugs is available, each with characteristics that affect its suitability for a given clinical situation. When choosing an antimicrobial to prescribe, a physician must consider a variety of factors including the therapeutic index, antimicrobial action, spectrum of activity, effects of combinations of antimicrobials, tissue distribution, half-life, adverse effects, resistance of the microbe, and cost of the drug.
■ Which would you rather take: an antimicrobial that has a low therapeutic index or one that has a high therapeutic index? Why?
■ In what clinical situation is it most appropriate to use a broad-spectrum antimicrobial?
■ Why would antimicrobials that have toxic side effects be used at all?
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