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.
Summary: 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.