Duration of pneumonia therapy and the role of biomarkers

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Purpose of review

Increasing antimicrobial resistance is a worldwide phenomenon that is threatening public health. Lower respiratory infections are one of the leading causes of morbidity that contribute to antibiotic consumption and thus the emergence of multidrug-resistant microbial strains. The goal of shortening antibiotic regimens’ duration in common bacterial infections has been prioritized by antimicrobial stewardship programs as an action against this problem.

Recent findings

Data coming from randomized controlled trials, meta-analyses, and systematic reviews support the shortening of antimicrobial regimens in community-acquired, hospital-acquired, and ventilator-associated pneumonia. Short schedules have been proven at least as effective as long ones in terms of antimicrobial-free days and clinical cure. Procalcitonin-based algorithms have been validated as well tolerated and cost-effective tools for the duration of pneumonia therapy reduction.


Shortening the duration of antibiotic regimens in pneumonia seems a reasonable strategy for reducing selective pressure driving antimicrobial resistance and costs provided that clinical cure is guaranteed. Procalcitonin-based protocols have been proven essentially helpful in this direction.

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