Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are a group of alcohol fast, aerobic, nonmotile bacteria that are found in the environment. Recent reports indicate that their incidence and prevalence is increasing and guidelines have been developed laying down criteria for diagnosis. The treatment of these mycobacteria may be difficult, in many cases involving complex regimens containing multiple drugs. While traditional anti-tuberculosis medications are frequently used, specific therapeutic regimens depend on the organism isolated, in vitro susceptibility testing, drug tolerance and toxicity and concomitant medical disorders. In this review, we describe the diagnosis and treatment of the more important lung pathogens, describing complexities and controversies surrounding treatment with traditional, adjunctive and the newer and more experimental agents.
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