Multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates are frequent causes of serious nosocomial infections that may compromise the selection of antimicrobial therapy. The goal of this review is to summarize recent epidemiologic, microbiologic, and clinical data pertinent to the therapeutic management of patients with infections caused by MDR/XDR-P. aeruginosa. Historically, conventional antipseudomonal β-lactam antibiotics have been used for the empiric treatment of MDR/XDR-P. aeruginosa. Owing to the remarkable capacity of P. aeruginosa to confer resistance via multiple mechanisms, these traditional therapies are often rendered ineffective. To increase the likelihood of administering empiric antipseudomonal therapy with in vitro activity, a second agent from a different antibiotic class is often administered concomitantly with a traditional antipseudomonal β-lactam. However, combination therapy may pose an increased risk of antibiotic toxicity and secondary infection, notably, Clostridioides difficile. Multiple novel agents that demonstrate in vitro activity against MDR-P. aeruginosa (e.g., β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor combinations and cefiderocol) have been recently granted US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and are promising additions to the antipseudomonal armamentarium. Even so, comparative clinical data pertaining to these novel agents is sparse, and concerns surrounding the scarcity of antibiotics active against refractory MDR/XDR-P. aeruginosa necessitates continued assessment of alternative therapies. This is particularly important in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) who may be chronically colonized and suffer from recurrent infections and disease exacerbations due in part to limited efficacious antipseudomonal agents. Bacteriophages represent a promising candidate for combatting recurrent and refractory infections with their ability to target specific host bacteria and circumvent traditional mechanisms of antibiotic resistance seen in MDR/XDR-P. aeruginosa. Future goals for the management of these infections include increased comparator clinical data of novel agents to determine in what scenario certain agents may be preferred over others. Until then, appropriate treatment of these infections requires a thorough evaluation of patient- and infection-specific factors to guide empiric and definitive therapeutic decisions.
© 2022. The Author(s).