Resistant bacteria usually are seen first in the intensive care unit and other acute-care areas. Thus, strategies to control these organisms often are first tested in these healthcare settings. Frequent among these strategies are attempts to improve antimicrobial use. One proposed method to decrease resistance in special settings like the intensive care unit is the cycling or rotation of antimicrobials. This intervention must be evaluated in the context of other concomitant attempts to improve antimicrobial usage and must take into account other factors influencing resistance.
Until such studies are done, the value of cycling and other efforts to limit prescribers' choices of drugs in endemic settings will be unclear. Studies to evaluate cycling will have to be of large scale to produce useful data. It is unlikely that many hospitals or healthcare systems will have sufficient resources on their own to develop studies of sufficient power to be applied widely. Thus, cooperative studies to provide data on this important issue should be an international priority.