A common cause for admission to the hospital, communityacquired pneumonia (CAP) is a serious, growing health problem in the United States. It has an incidence estimated at 5.6 million cases annually. 1,2 Approximately 1.7 million hospitalizations for CAP are reported each year at an annual cost of about $23 billion. 1,3 The elderly consume the majority of these expenses, account for more the majority of CAP-related hospitalizations, and have longer lengths of stay. Mortality rates among the most seriously affected patients with CAP (the majority of whom are in the geriatric age group) approaches 40%, and causative pathogens are identified in fewer than 50% of patients. 4 Accordingly, empiric antibiotic regimens frequently are chosen in hospitalized patients with CAP on the basis of results of clinical trials and expert panel recommendations. Despite a general consensus that empiric treatment of requires, at the least, mandatory coverage of such organisms as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis, as well as atypical organisms (Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Legionella pneumophila), antibiotic selection strategies for achieving this spectrum of coverage vary widely. To provide physicians and pharmacists current, evidence-supported standards for antimicrobial therapy in CAP, new treatment guidelines have been issued by a number of national panels and/or associations among them, the American Thoracic Society Guideline
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