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ChemistryBiochemistryAntibiotics

Antibiotics
There are chemical substances around us at every moment.
We ourselves are a beautiful chemical creation and all our activities are controlled by chemicals. Our life
depends upon many chemical substances like medicines, drugs used as disinfectants, antibiotic and
antiseptics.
Drugs are the chemical substances which have capability of curing certain diseases but they
become habit and show serious side effect.On the other hand, medicines are the chemical substances
used in several diseases, impart minimum side effects.
There are various ways to classify drugs.
1. On the basis of their pharmacological effect
2. On the basis of action on a particular biochemical process
3. On the basis of chemical structure
4. On the basis of molecular target

What are Antibiotic


Antibiotic is a combination of two Greek word which means against life. These are chemical
substances which produced by some microorganisms and have capability to deactivate or kill other
microorganisms, generally infection causing bacteria.
They are very reactive even in a very low concentration of them. The first antibiotic was penicillin which
was discovered in 1929 by Alexander fleming from a mold culture. Now penicillin is a widely used
antibiotic produced by microbial strain chrysogenum and its mutant.

Penicillin is a group of closely related compounds and consists of one acyl side chain, beta-lactam
ring and one thiazolidine ring. The main disadvantage of antibiotics is that they can fight only
with bacterial infections and do not work against viral infections, like flu, common cold, sore throat,
mumps, bronchitis, etc.
Some of the antibiotics have serious side effects also; this is because some time antibiotic is not affected
on virus and the chances of emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria increases. Hence when an actual
bacterial infection happens, the antibiotic is not able to kill them due to developed resistance.
On the basis of their specificity towards microorganisms, antibiotics can be classified either as
bactericides or as bacteriostatic. Bactericides antibiotics used for killing bacteria only while bacteriostatic
antibiotics are not killing them but slow down their rate of growth. Some common examples of both types
of antibiotics are as follows.

Bactericides antibiotics

Bacteriostatic antibiotics

Daptomycin

Tetracydines

Fluoroquinolones

Sulfonamides

Metronidazole

Spectinomycin

Nitrofuration

Trimethoprim

Co-trimoxazole

Chloramphenicol

Telithromycin

Macrolides

Penicillin derivatives (penams)

Lincosamides

Cephalosporins (cephems)
Monobactams
Carbapenems
Vancomycin

Another to classify antibiotics is on the basis of their action on bacteria, which is broad spectrum or
narrow spectrum. A broad spectrum antibiotic can be effective against several different types if harmful
bacteria like Chloramphenicol which can be given orally in case of typhoid, dysentery, acute fever,
meningitis, pneumonia and certain forms of urinary infection.
However penicillin is a narrow spectrum antibiotic as it is effective only in case of those diseases
which caused by various cocci and some gram positive bacteria.
On the basis of the chemical structure of antibiotics they can be classified as follows:
1. Penicillins
The antibiotics of this class are also called as beta-lactam antibiotics. They used to destroy the cell walls
of the bacteria during their reproduction process. Some common examples of this class are penicillin G,
penicillin V, ampicillin, ticarcillin, cloxacillin, oxacillin, amoxicillin and nafcillin.
2. Cephalosporins
They are bactericidal agents like cefadroxil, cefazolin, cephalexin, cephapirin, and cephalothin and used
for those cases which are sensitive for penicillin antibiotics.
3. Aminoglycosides
These antibiotics inhibit the protein formation of bacteria-invading cells. Fo example; gentamicin,
streptomycin and neomycin.
4. Macrolides
These antibiotics also interfere with the protein formation of invading bacteria and prevent bacterial
protein biosynthesis. Like; azithromycin, clarithromycin and erythromycin.
5. Sulfonamides
Their action on microorganism is very similar to penicillin for fighting the bacterial infection. The most
common example of sulphonamide is gantrisin.
6. Fluoroquinolones
This class of antibiotics is latest development in chemotherapy. Some examples of these types of
antibiotic are enoxacin, levofloxacin and ofloxacin. They are relatively safe antibiotics as easily absorbed

by body and can be given orally.


7. Tetracyclines
They are wide spectrum antibiotics used for infections of the middle ear, respiratory tract, urinary tract etc,
but with various side effects. For example; tetracycline, deoxycycline and minocycline.
8. Polypeptides
They are quite toxic and used for skin surface only. For example; bacitracin, polymyxin B and colistin.

Natural Antibiotics
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There are many natural antibiotics which we can see in our daily life and have very less or no side effect.
Apart from that they are quite effective and show long term effects. Some of the common examples of
natural antibiotics are as follow.
1. Olive Leaf Extract: Olive leaf extract is a good natural antibiotics which can also effective on
various microbes including viruses. This extract also shows free radical scavenging abilities which
linked with aging and disease.
2. Garlic: It is a naturally occurring antibiotic, has anti-fungal property, and also an antiviral agent.
However it contains two minerals; potassium and germanium which are critical to good health and
also contains Allicin which is sulfur compound. These mineral and sulfur compound are act as
phytochemicals which have ability to boost the immunity.
3. Green tea: It has capability to work against certain strains of oral bacteria due to the presence of
epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which is an active ingredients of green tea.
4. Oregano Oil: This is one of most effective natural antibiotics which has ability to killed 96% of all
pneumococcus bacteria, 92% of all neisseria, proteus, and staphylococcus bacteria. Oregano oil
can eliminated 83% of streptococcus and 78% of enterococcus, which are linked with rheumatic
fever , anorexia, scarlet fever, toxic shock syndrome, wound infections, cystitis and strep throat.
5. Echinacea: It is a well known herbal remedies which is widely used for flus, colds, and other
bacterial infections. It is also effective as a blood purifier as it can stimulate the immune system
and increases white blood cell counts. The only limitation with this antibiotic is that it can be
effective only when taken over longer periods of time.
6. Goldenseal: Like Echinacea herb, Goldenseal is also an herb which has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is often used for the treatment of sinus and ear infections, sore throats and
vaginal infections. There are some limitations with this herb is that it cannot be taken during
pregnancy and by hypoglycemics as it lowers the blood sugar levels.
7. Myrrh: This is another herb which has antiseptic, antibiotic and antiviral properties.

8. Colloidal Silver: This is an oldest and most controversial natural antibiotic which was very
common during the 19th century for bacterial infections. It is quite effective for a variety of topical
uses like ring worm and other fungal infections. It has ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria as
well as viruses.
9. Natural Antibiotics in Mammals: During sickness human body can create their own natural
antibiotics which are basically natural peptides also known as cathelicidins. They distributed in
tissue and white blood cells as they have ability to inhibit microbial growth and fight infections.

Artificial Antibiotics
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On the basis of their origin, antibiotics can be classified as


1. Natural antibiotic: They derived from fungal sources and develop resistance faster to the natural
antimicrobials as they already exposed to these compounds in nature. They are more toxic than
other type of antibiotics. For example, Benzylpenicillin.
2. Semi-synthetic antibiotic: They used to decreased toxicity and increased effectiveness like
Ampicillin , Amikacin.
3. Artificial or Synthetic antibiotic: These drugs prepared in laboratory by chemical reactions.
They have high effectiveness and less toxicity compare to other antibiotics. They can be broad or
narrow spectrum and produced by certain organisms. For example, Nitrofurans and Quinolones,
Moxifloxacin, Norfloxacin. The toxicity of antibiotic is inversely related to effectiveness. Synthetic
or artificial antibiotics have high effectiveness but less toxicity compare to natural antibiotics.

List of Antibiotics
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Some common antibiotics with their class and brands are as follow;

Mechanism of Action of Antibiotics


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Different antibiotics react selectively with different microbes or molecules on certain organelles like cell
wall, nucleic acid or cell membrane and the presence of antibiotic interrupt their synthesis. Some
antibiotics interfere with the synthesis of peptidoglycan which is a most important component of the cell
wall.

Hence mechanism of antibiotics involves inhibition on a certain levels. All these antibiotics show various
mode of action. Some of the modes of action are as follows.

Cell Wall Synthesis Inhibitors: Some antibiotics like beta-lactams, cephalosporins and
glycopeptides inhibits the ability of microorganism to synthesize the cell the wall which mainly
contains murein and peptidoglycan.

Protein Synthesis Inhibitors: Some antibiotics like Streptomycine, Erythromycine, tetracyclines,


chloramphenicol, lincomycin, kanamycin disulphate salts, aminoglycosides and macrolides
interfere in the formation of protein synthesis of microbes.

Cell Membrane Inhibitors: Antibiotics like polymyxins interrupt the integrity and structure of cell
membranes, hence killing them. These types of antibiotics are generally effective on gram ve
bacteria as they have a definite cell membrane.

Effect on Nucleic Acids: The whole existence and life of any living system depends on DNA and
RNA present in every living cell. Some antibiotics like etopocide, rifampcin, quinolones and
rifamycins bonded with those proteins which are essential for the processing of these nucleic
acids. Hence these antibiotics block the synthesis of nucleic acid and therefore affect the growth
of the living cells.

Competitive Inhibitors: Some antibiotics competitively inhibit the important metabolic pathways
happen inside the bacterial cell. These antibiotics resemble a microbial substrate and compete
with that substrate for the limited microbial enzyme. The antibiotic ties up the enzyme and blocks
a step in metabolism. They are also called as anti-metabolites or growth factor analogs. For
example; Sulfonamides like Gantrisin and Trimethoprim.

Some antibiotics with their mechanism are as follows.

Uses of Antibiotics
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Usually an antibiotic is a chemical substance which used in medicine to treat diseases that are
caused by bacteria. Some antibiotics are also effective on fungi and protozoa.

The group of unicellular microorganisms which are invisible with the naked eye are called as
bacteria. Some bacteria are either harmless or pathogenic in human body.

Pathogenic bacteria are two types. Gram-positive (have no outer membrane) and Gram-negative
bacteria (have outer membrane). In human body most pathogenic bacteria are Gram-negative.
Both type of pathogenic bacteria are harmful for human health and has to be treated.

Antibiotics are the best drugs for the treatment of bacterial infections which eliminate the bacteria
completely (bacteriocidal) or inhibit their growth (bacteristatic) by protein inhibition or cell wall
inhibition.

The selection of antibiotic depends upon the type of microbes as well as range of antibiotics.
Some antibiotics can kill or inhibit the growth of certain bacteria only, called as the narrowspectrum antibiotics like penicillin.

While those antibiotics which target wider range of bacteria is called as broad-spectrum
antibiotics like chloramphenicol. Some common antibiotics with their class and uses are as follow.

Class of
antibiotic

Antibiotic

Erythromycin

Clarithromyci
Treatment of infection in respiratory tract and genital,
n
gastrointestinal tract
Azithromycin

Oxithromycin

Amikacin

Gentamicin

Kanamycin

Neomycin

Streptomycin

Tobramycin

Macrolides

Aminoglycosides

Cephalosporin

Uses

1. First generation
Cephazolin

Cefadroxil

Cephalexin

Cephradine
2. Second generation
Cefaclor

Cefuroxime

Cefprozil

Loracarbef
3. Third generation
Cefotaxime

Cefixime

Cefpodoxime

Ceftazidime

Treat the infections caused by gram-negative bacteria.

Used the treatment of pneumonia, tonsillitis,


bronchitis, strep throat, staph infections and various
types of skin infections

Cefdinir
4. Fourth generation
Cefepime

Fluoroquinolones

Penicillins

Tetracyclines

Cefpirome

Ciprofloxacin

Gatifloxacin

Gemifloxacin

Levofloxacin Used in the treatment of infection of Urinary tract,


Moxifloxacin skin, respiratory system

Norfloxacin

Ofloxacin

Trovafloxacin

Amoxicillin

Ampicillin

Bacampicillin

Oxacillin

Penicillin

Tetracycline

Doxycycline

Minocycline

Used in the treatment of infection of skin, teeth, ear,


respiratory tract and urinary tract.

Used in the treatment of mild acne, Rocky Mountain


spotted fever, Lyme Disease, upper respiratory tract
infection, urinary tract infections, Sexually transmitted
diseases, typhus.

Side Effects of Antibiotics


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Antibiotics may have side effects. Compare to other drugs, antibiotics are screened for any negative
effects before approval for clinical use, and are considered safe. However the reaction and effect of
antibiotic depends on the dose prescribe by doctor as well as the tolerance power of patient and the
microbe which targeted.

The side effect of antibiotic can be ranged from mild to very serious. Some of the more common side
effects may include,

Soft stools

Diarrhea
Mild stomach upset
Vomiting
Severe abdominal cramps
Allergic reaction like shortness of breath, hives, swelling on face and tongue, fainting
Rashes on skin
Vaginal itching and discharge
White patches on the tongue
Some allergic reactions like photo dermatitis and anaphylaxis

Some antibiotic with their side effects are as follows.

Antibiotic

Side Effect

Penicillins

Diarrhea, Nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach, skin rashes, fever, and
anaphylactic shock

Cephalosporins

Diarrhoea, nausea, mild stomach cramps

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, Effects on central nervous


Fluoroquinolones
system like headache, confusion and dizziness, phototoxicity (more common
s
with lomefloxacin and sparfloxacin)
Tetracyclines

Diarrhea , Cramps or burning of the stomach

Macrolides

Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, temporary auditory impairment, allergic


reactions like angioedema, anaphylaxis, and dermatologic reactions, irritation
in stomach

Aminoglycosides Ototoxicity (damage to the ear and hearing), nephrotoxicity (kidney damage)