Treatment of Mycobacterium abscessus Complex

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37 Scopus citations


Of the nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTMs) causing lung disease, members of the Mycobacterium abscessus complex (MABc) present a formidable obstacle to successful management. This challenge starts from a poorly understood pathogenesis, continues with complicated subspecies variation in treatment response, and extends to the multidrug-resistant nature of these organisms. The disease often necessitates the use of intravenous therapy, toxic drug combinations, and, in some cases, lung resection. Like many NTMs, MABc treatment requires prolonged therapy with multiple medications, and pulmonary disease in some subspecies can be impossible to eradicate or cure. This disease also represents a frequent and unique problem in certain populations, including cystic fibrosis and lung transplant recipients, and providers who manage such patients should be familiar with how MABc disease influences management. Because of the rising prevalence of the MABc, especially in patients with complicated underlying pulmonary disease, it is increasingly necessary for infectious diseases and pulmonary medicine clinicians to understand the unique aspects of MABc management and understand when to obtain expert consultation in the care of these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-376
Number of pages15
JournalSeminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018


  • Mycobacterium abscessus
  • Mycobacterium abscessus treatment
  • Mycobacterium bolletii
  • Mycobacterium massiliense
  • bronchiectasis
  • cystic fibrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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