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July 21, 1993

The Antibiotic Paradox: How Miracle Drugs Are Destroying the Miracle

Author Affiliations

Regional Medical Center at Memphis (Tenn)


by Stuart B. Levy, 279 pp, with illus, $24.95, ISBN 0-306-44331-7, New York, NY, Plenum Press, 1992.

JAMA. 1993;270(3):384-385. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510030108048

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"Mr. Williams came in last night. It looks like secondary staph pneumonia, with septic emboli. The ward team has him on vancomycin, ceftriaxone, ampicillin-sulbactam, and ciprofloxacin until the cultures are back." And so it goes: patient after patient on high-dose, multidrug therapy, for infections caused by progressively resistant microorganisms. Seeing this and similar patients on a daily basis brings home the truth of The Antibiotic Paradox.

Dr Stuart B. Levy's new book describes the "antibiotic age," from the use of penicillin in survivors of the Coconut Grove fire in 1942, through the development of antimicrobial resistance, to a frightening future in which antibiotics as we know them today may be obsolete. Dr Levy is an internationally recognized expert on resistance and an outspoken critic of the widespread misuse of antibiotics. He is president of the Alliance for Prudent Use of Antibiotics, an international organization founded in 1981 to collect and