The manuscripts contained in this special edition of Antibiotics represent a current review of the polymyxins as well as highlights from the 3rd International Polymyxin Conference, which was held in Madrid, Spain, 25 to 26 April 2018. The role of the polymyxin antibiotics has evolved over time based on the availability of alternative agents. After high rates of nephrotoxicity caused the drug class to fall out of favor, polymyxins were once against utilized in the 21st century to combat drug-resistant pathogens. However, the introduction of safer agents with activity against drug-resistant organisms has brought the future utility of polymyxins into question. The present review investigates the future niche of polymyxins by evaluating currently available and future treatment options for difficult-to-treat pathogens. The introduction of ceftazidime-avibactam, meropenem-vaborbactam and plazomicin are likely to decrease polymyxin utilization for infections caused by Enterobacteriaceae
. Similarly, the availability of ceftolozane-tazobactam will reduce the use of polymyxins to counter multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa
. In contrast, polymyxins will likely continue be an important option for combatting carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii
until better options become commercially available. Measuring polymyxin concentrations in patients and individualizing therapy may be a future strategy to optimize clinical outcomes while minimizing nephrotoxicity. Inhaled polymyxins will continue to be an adjunctive option for pulmonary infections but further clinical trials are needed to clarify the efficacy of inhaled polymyxins. Lastly, safer polymyxin analogs will potentially be an important addition to the antimicrobial armamentarium.
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