Introduction: Our knowledge about lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) has improved substantially in the last years, but the management of respiratory infections is still a challenge and we are still far from precision medicine in the treatment of LRTIs.

Areas covered: The approaches developed in recent years to improve the pharmacotherapeutic management of LRTIs, such as novel diagnostic assays to facilitate medical decision-making, attempts for selecting an optimal empiric antibiotic regimen, and the role of new and possibly unproven adjunctive therapies, are described.
Expert opinion: Early and appropriate antibiotics remain the cornerstone in the treatment of LRTIs. The updated trend is to apply antimicrobial stewardship principles and initiatives to optimize both the management and the outcomes of LTRIs. Biomarkers, mainly C-reactive protein (CRP) and procalcitonin (PCT), can improve the diagnostic and prognostic assessment of LRTIs and aid to guide antibiotic therapy. The widespread use of antimicrobial agents has greatly contributed to faster development of antibiotic resistance and the emergence of opportunistic pathogens, which substitute the indigenous microbiota. However, very few new antibiotics in development to overcome existing resistance and ensure continued success in the treatment of LRTIs have been approved, likely because antibiotic stewardship programs discourage the use of new agents.
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