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Are antibiotics an effective treatment option for gram-positive cocci?

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Antibiotics are generally effective in treating gram-positive cocci bacteria, according to Merck Manuals. However, some strains have developed a resistance to antibiotics. For example, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is resistant to many antimicrobials, including penicillin and amoxicillin, explains Drugs.com. Alternative antibiotics used to treat MRSA include linezolid, clindamycin and vancomycin.

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Other gram-positive cocci that have developed antibiotic resistance include vancomycin-intermediate and vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium and community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, according to Drugs.com. Antibiotic resistance develops due to the misuse of antibiotics and may result in untreatable and life-threatening infections. MRSA, for example, is associated with toxic shock syndrome, pneumonia, meningitis and skin infections.

Gram-positive cocci bacteria commonly cause skin infections, septicemia and pneumonia, according to Merck Manuals, but usually only cause infections when they reach normally sterile parts of the body. Some gram-positvie bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes, release exotoxins into the body, resulting in toxic shock syndrome. In these cases, patients may need fluids, irrigation of wounds and other supportive care in addition to antibiotic treatments.

When bacteria become resistant to antibiotics that were formerly effective, doctor have limited options for alternative treatments. According to Drugs.com, only two new types of antibiotics have been developed since the 1960s: oxazolidinones, such as linezolid, and lipopeptides, such as daptomycin.

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