The double-edged sword of antibiotic use in the fight against disease has saved countless lives at the cost of an escalation in pathogenic bacteria with increased resistance to multiple antibiotic classes. Reduction of resistance is a complicated multi-step endeavor that requires a sustained international effort of reduced utilization, infection control and development of effective and economical antimicrobial agents. The carbapenems are β-lactam antibiotics that are stable to most β-lactamases. They have potent bactericidal activity against a wide range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative aerobic bacteria as well as against anaerobic bacteria, while being safe, efficacious and tolerable. The use of carbapenems in hospitals has therefore been restricted to the empirical treatment of critical patients with a variety of serious infections, e.g. nosocomial pneumonia, septicemia, meningitis and cystic fibrosis. This article reviews patents claiming carbapenem antibacterial agents published from 2004-2008.
Keywords: Carbapenems, β-lactam antibiotics, synthesis, antibacterial effects, resistance, β-lactamases
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