Antibiotics Classification And Side Effects

Class Action - Antibiotics Classification And Side Effects

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What are Antibiotics?

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The word "antibiotics" comes from the Greek anti ("against") and bios ("life"). Antibiotics are drugs that either destroy bacteria or forestall their reproduction. Antibiotics that kill bacteria are called "bactericidal" and the ones that stop the growth of bacteria are called "bacteriostatic".

Since penicillin's introduction while the 1940s, scientists developed numerous other antibiotics. Today, over 100 separate antibiotics are available. About 90% of antibiotics are made from living organisms such as bacteria, others are produced synthetically, either in whole or in part.

Antibiotics classification

Although there are several classification schemes for antibiotics, based on bacterial spectrum (broad, narrow) or route of management (injectable, oral, topical), or type of action (bactericidal, bacteriostatic), the most useful is based on chemical structure. Antibiotics within a structural class will ordinarily have similar patterns of effectiveness, toxicity, and allergic potential.

Most ordinarily used types of antibiotics are: Penicillins, Fluoroquinolones, Cephalosporins, Macrolides, and Tetracyclines. While each class is composed of manifold drugs, each drug is unique in some way.


The penicillins are the oldest class of antibiotics. Penicillins have a coarse chemical structure which they share with the cephalopsorins. Penicillins are ordinarily bactericidal, inhibiting formation of the cell wall.

There are four types of penicillins:
The natural pencillins are based on the traditional penicillin-G structure. Penicillin-G types are efficient against gram-positive strains of streptococci, staphylococci, and some gram-negative bacteria such as meningococcus. Penicillinase-resistant penicillins are active even in the nearnessy of the bacterial enzyme that inactivates most natural penicillins. Extended spectrum penicillins which are efficient against a wider range of bacteria. Aminopenicillins such as ampicillin and amoxicillin have an extended spectrum of action compared with the natural penicillins.
Penicillins side effects

Penicillins are among the least toxic drugs known. The most coarse side ensue of penicillin is diarrhea. Nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach are also common. In rare cases penicillins can cause immediate and delayed allergic reactions - specifically, skin rashes, fever, and anaphylactic shock. Penicillins are classed as class B while pregnancy.


Cephalosporins have a mechanism of action identical to that of the penicillins. However, the basic chemical structure of the penicillins and cephalosporins differs in other respects, resulting in some disagreement in the spectrum of antibacterial activity. Like the penicillins, cephalosporins interfere with synthesis of the bacterial cell wall and so are bactericidal.

Cephalosporins are among the most diverse classes of antibiotics, they are grouped into "generations" by their antimicrobial properties. Each generation has a broader spectrum of action than the one before.

The first generation cephalosporins include: cephalothin, cefazolin, cephapirin, cephradine, cephalexin, cefadroxil. Their spectrums of action are quite similar. They possess ordinarily excellent coverage against most gram-positive pathogens and changeable to poor coverage against most gram negative pathogens.

The second generation cephalosporins include: cefaclor, cefamandole, cefonicid, ceforanide, cefuroxime. In expanding to the gram-positive spectrum of the first generation cephalosporins, these agents have extensive gram-negative spectrum. Cefoxitin and cefotetan also have good action against Bacteroides fragilis.

The third generation cephalosporins have much extensive gram-negative activity. However, some members of this group have decreased action against gram-positive organisms. The third generation cephalosporins include: cefcapene, cefdaloxime, cefditoren, cefetamet, cefixime, cefmenoxime, cefodizime, cefoperazone, cefotaxime, cefpimizole, cefpodoxime, ceftibuten, ceftriaxone. They have the benefit of suitable dosing schedules, but they are expensive.

The fourth generation cephalosporins are extended-spectrum agents with similar action against gram-positive organisms as first-generation cephalosporins. They also have a greater resistance to beta-lactamases (bacterial enzymes that may destroy antibiotic before it can do its work) than the third generation cephalosporins. Many fourth generation cephalosporins can cross blood brain barrier and are efficient in meningitis. The fourth generation cephalosporins include: cefclidine, cefepime, cefluprenam, cefozopran, cefpirome, cefquinome.

Cephalosporin side effects

Cephalosporins ordinarily cause few side effects. coarse side effects related these drugs include: diarrhoea, nausea, mild stomach cramps or upset. Practically 5Ц10% of patients with allergic hypersensitivity to penicillins will also have cross-reactivity with cephalosporins. Thus, cephalosporin antibiotics are contraindicated in habitancy with a history of allergic reactions (urticaria, anaphylaxis, interstitial nephritis, etc) to penicillins or cephalosporins. Cephalosporin antibiotics are classed as fertilization class B.


Fluoroquinolones are the newest class of antibiotics. Their generic name often contains the root "floxacin". They are synthetic antibiotics that belong to the house of antibiotics called quinolones. The older quinolones are not well absorbed and are used to treat mostly urinary tract infections. The newer fluoroquinolones are broad-spectrum bacteriocidal drugs that are chemically unrelated to the penicillins or the cephaloprosins. Because of their excellent absorption fluoroquinolones can be administered not only by intravenous but orally as well.

Commonly used fluoroquinolones comprise ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, lomefloxacin, norfloxacin, sparfloxacin, clinafloxacin, gatifloxacin, ofloxacin, trovafloxacin.

Fluoroquinolones side effects

Fluoroquinolones are well tolerated and relatively safe. The most coarse side effects comprise nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain. Other more serious but less coarse side effects are central nervous law effects (headache, blurring and dizziness), phototoxicity (more coarse with lomefloxacin and sparfloxacin). All drugs in this class have been related with convulsions. Fluoroquinolones are classed as fertilization class C.


Tetracyclines got their name because they share a chemical structure that has four rings. They are derived from a species of Streptomyces bacteria. Tetracycline antibiotics are broad-spectrum bacteriostatic agents, that inhibit bacterial protein synthesis. Tetracyclines may be efficient against a wide collection of microorganisms, along with rickettsia and amebic parasites.

Tetracyclines are used in the rehabilitation of infections of the respiratory tract, sinuses, middle ear, urinary tract, skin, intestines. Tetracyclines also are used to treat Gonorrhoea. Their most coarse current use is in the rehabilitation of gradually severe acne and rosacea.

The most ordinarily prescribed tetracycline antibiotics are: tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, oxytetracycline.

Tetracycline side effects

Drugs in the tetracycline class become toxic over time. Expired drugs can cause a perilous syndrome resulting in damage to the kidneys.

Common side effects related with tetracyclines comprise cramps or burning of the stomach, diarrhea, sore mouth or tongue. Tetracyclines can cause skin photosensitivity, which increases the risk of sunburn under exposure to Uv light. This may be of singular significance for those intending to take on holidays long-term doxycyline as a malaria prophylaxis. Rarely, tetracyclines may cause allergic reactions. Very rarely severe headache and vision problems may be signs of perilous secondary intracranial hypertension.

Tetracycline antibiotics should not be used in children under the age of 8, and specifically while periods of tooth development. Tetracyclines are classed as fertilization class D. Use while fertilization may cause alterations in bone development.


The macrolide antibiotics are derived from Streptomyces bacteria, and got their name because they all have a macrocyclic lactone chemical structure. The macrolides are bacteriostatic, binding with bacterial ribosomes to inhibit protein synthesis. Erythromycin, the prototype of this class, has a spectrum and use similar to penicillin. Macrolide antibiotics are used to treat respiratory tract infections (such as pharyngitis, sinusitis, and bronchitis), genital, gastrointestinal tract, and skin infections.

The most ordinarily prescribed macrolide antibiotics are: erythromycin, clarithromycin, azithromycin, roxithromycin, troleandomycin.

Macrolides side effects

Side effects related with macrolides comprise nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; infrequently, there may be temporary auditory impairment. Azithromycin has been rarely related with allergic reactions, along with angioedema, anaphylaxis, and dermatologic reactions. Oral erythromycin may be extremely irritating to the stomach and when given by injection may cause severe phlebitis. Macrolide antibiotics should be used with caution in patients with liver dysfunction. fertilization class B: Azithromycin, erythromycin. fertilization class C: Clarithromycin, dirithromycin, troleandomycin.

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