Aminoglycoside

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Aminoglycosides are a group of antibiotics that are effective against certain types of bacteria. They include amikacin, gentamicin, kanamycin, neomycin, netilmicin, paromomycin, streptomycin, and tobramycin. Those which are derived from Streptomyces species are named with the suffix -mycin, while those which are derived from micromonospora are named with the suffix -micin.

Aminoglycosides work by binding to the bacterial 30S ribosomal subunit, causing misreading of t-RNA, leaving the bacterium unable to synthesize proteins vital to its growth.

Aminoglycosides are useful primarily in infections involving aerobic, Gram-negative bacteria, such as Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, and Enterobacter. In addition, some mycobacteria, including the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, are susceptible to aminoglycosides. Streptomycin was the first effective drug in the treatment of tuberculosis, though the role of aminoglycosides such as streptomycin and amikacin have been eclipsed (because of their toxicity and inconvenient route of administration) except for multiple drug resistant strains.

Infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria can also be treated with aminoglycosides, but other types of antibiotics are more potent and less damaging to the host. In the past the aminoglycosides have been used in conjunction with penicillin-related antibiotics in streptococcal infections for their synergistic effects, particularly in endocarditis.

Because of their potential for ototoxicity and renal toxicity, aminoglycosides are administered in doses based on body weight. Blood drug levels and creatinine are monitored during the course of therapy.

There is no oral form of these antibiotics: they are generally administered intravenously, though some are used in topical preparations used on wounds.

Aminoglycosides are mostly ineffective against anaerobic bacteria, fungi and viruses.

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