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Facts about Aminoglycosides

Aminoglycosides are a group of the broad spectrum antibiotic medications. These are: amikacin, apramycin, gentamicin, kanamycin, streptomycin and others. All these drugs are used to treat various bacterial infections, especially those caused by gram negative aerobic bacteria, such as Salmonella, Pseudomonas, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Escherichia coli. They are also used to treat rodent diseases, such as tularemia or plague. These are not the drugs useful in treating common cold, flu or some viral infections, but some recent studies shown that aminoglycosides can successfully slow down the progression of cysticfibrosis.

Aminoglycosides work by binding to 30S ribosome in bacterial cells. This binding affect and stops synthesis of proteins in bacteria, leading to bacterial death.

You can’t take aminoglycosides orally, because just small amount of it get absorbed into the blood and becomes ready to be used. The only ways to use this group of medication are therefore intravenously, by irrigation or by inhalation. In most cases, aminoglycosides are used on their own, but they can be combined with some other beta-lactam antibiotics to treat gram negative bacterial infections.

Adverse Effects of Aminoglycosides

Aminoglycosides should be used only under medical supervision. It means that your doctor must be consulted before you start any treatment with these antibiotic medications. He/she will study your medical history, weight, age and other medications you have been using and prescribe the dose and aminoglycosides suitable for your case. They might also recommend monitoring of aminoglycoside levels in your blood, to watch closely the dosage and reactions of your body to these medications.

Some of serious side effects associated with the use of aminoglycosides are renal-, oto- and vestibulo-toxicity, which are more likely to occur in children and elderly. If you notice any changes in your urine while using these antibiotics, make sure to contact your doctor, because it may indicate kidney problems. It is usually enough to adjust the dose, but in some cases renal problems may cause cessation of these medications. High doses of aminoglycosides, especially in older patients may cause ototoxicity and loss of hearing. Another side effect is loss of balance, caused by aminoglycoside vestibulotoxicity, after the prolonged use of these medications.

Other adverse effects include: allergic reactions to these drugs and dizziness.

If you already know that you are allergic to aminoglycosides you mustn’t use these antibiotics. Patients with Parkinson’s disease and kidney-related problems should discuss the use of aminoglycosides with their doctor.

These medications are not advised to be used in pregnant women, since they might cause harmful consequences in unborn children.

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