The ability of some antibiotics, such as chloramphenicol and the tetracyclines, to antagonize the growth of numerous pathogens has resulted in their designation as broad-spectrum antibiotics. Designations of spectrum of activity are of somewhat limited use to the physician, unless they are based on clinical effectiveness of the antibiotic against specific microorganisms. Many of the broad-spectrum antibiotics are active only in relatively high concentrations against some of the species of microorganisms often included in the "spectrum."
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