Clarithromycin and azithromycin, which are more acid-stable than erythromycin A (EM), have been widely prescribed for the treatment of respiratory tract infections because of their high efficacy and safety. However, these macrolide antibiotics are only weakly active against pathogens with an efflux gene (mef) and are inactive against pathogens with a methyltransferase-inducible gene (erm) and constitutively resistant organisms. To address the drug resistance issue, tremendous efforts have been devoted to the modification of the macrolide structure. As a consequence, several types of decladinosyl derivatives, such as ketolide and acylides, have been recognized to be effective against meftype resistant streptococci and methylase-inducible staphylococci. It has also been recognized that derivatives containing certain 11-, 6- or 4”-tethered aryl substituents, such as telithromycin (HMR 3647), cethromycin (ABT-773) and CP- 544372, are effective against erm(B)-type resistant streptococci. Telithromycin was recently approved in several European countries for the treatment of respiratory tract infections and cethromycin is now in the final stage of clinical study. Macrolide antibiotics have been modified to address the issues of acid-instability and inactivity against resistant strains. In this review, we will summarize the progress in the macrolide research area and discuss the desirable features of the next generation macrolide antibiotics.