Ceftazidime was used as the only intravenous agent for treating lower respiratory tract infections in patients with cystic fibrosis. The risks of inducing beta lactamases and conferring antibiotic resistance are high when monotherapy is used; so the emergence of resistant bacteria was studied prospectively in the sputum of 120 patients. The mean age of patients was 9.0 (range 0.3-25) years and there were equal number of male and female patients. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the only ceftazidime resistant bacterium to be isolated from the respiratory tract, and was identified only in chronically colonised patients. Ceftazidime resistance occurred in 103 (14%) of 750 P aeruginosa isolates, and in 16 of 36 chronically colonised patients. Ceftazidime resistant organisms were isolated from the faeces of 17 of 64 patients investigated. Eighty two per cent of the resistant faecal organisms were single isolates: the same resistant organism in faeces was isolated from successive samples in only two patients. In no case was the ceftazidime resistant enteric isolate the same as that from sputum. Patients chronically colonised by P aeruginosa did not harbour ceftazidime resistant enteric organisms any more than non-colonised patients. The use of ceftazidime as a single intravenous agent in treating chest exacerbations in cystic fibrosis does not induce a reservoir of ceftazidime resistant bacteria.
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