Diekema, Daniel J. Department of Pathology, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa.
Last reviewed:February 2020
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- Genetic basis
- Gene acquisition
- Mechanisms of resistance
- Alteration of target site
- Enzyme inactivation
- Active transport of the drug
- Decreased permeability of the cell
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The ability of an organism to resist the action of an inhibitory molecule or compound. Drug resistance is the decreased reactivity of living organisms to the injurious actions of certain drugs and chemicals. Examples of drug resistance include disease-causing bacteria evading the activity of antibiotics, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) resisting antiviral agents, and human cancer cells replicating despite the presence of chemotherapy agents. There are many ways in which cells or organisms become resistant to drugs, and some organisms have developed many resistance mechanisms, with each being specific to a different drug. Drug resistance is best understood as it applies to bacteria, and the increasing resistance of many common disease-causing bacteria to antibiotics is a global crisis (Fig. 1). See also: Antibiotic; Antibiotic resistance; Antimicrobial agents; Bacteria; Bacteriology; Chemotherapy and other antineoplastic drug treatments; Medical bacteriology
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