Empiric therapy

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Empiric therapy is a medical term referring to the initiation of treatment prior to determination of a firm diagnosis. It is most often used when antibiotics are given to a person before the specific microorganism causing an infection is known. Examples of this include antibiotics given for pneumonia and urinary tract infections.

Empiric antibiotics are typically broad-spectrum, in that they treat a wide variety of possible microorganisms. When more information is known (as from a blood culture), treatment may be changed to a different antibiotic which more specifically targets the microorganism known to be causing disease.


See also

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