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February 1983

Mechanisms of In Vitro Sensitivity to Sulfadiazine Silver

Author Affiliations

From the US Army Institute of Surgical Research, Fort Sam Houston, Tex.

Arch Surg. 1983;118(2):161-166. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1983.01390020017003

• Sulfonamide-resistant organisms have been reported as a frequent consequence of the clinical use of sulfadiazine silver. At this burn center, sulfonamide resistance occurred in more than 80% of gram-negative isolates. We tested the requirement for the individual antimicrobial activities of sulfadiazine and silver for in vitro activity of sulfadiazine silver. The sulfadiazine component is not necessary for in vitro sensitivity. In vitro sensitivity to sulfadiazine silver does not consistently predict the presence of therapeutic activity in Pseudomonas aeruginosa–infected rats with burns. We describe an example of a transferable multiple-antibiotic resistance plasmid that contains selectable sulfonamide resistance. The use of sulfadiazine silver can, therefore, lead to the selection of organisms that are resistant not only to sulfonamides but to antibiotics of clinical consequence, and this possible risk must be considered in electing to use the agent.

(Arch Surg 1983;118:161-166)