Common Antimicrobial Drugs and Target Organisms
|Beta-lactam (penicillin and cephalosporins)||Staphylococci and streptococci||Positive|
|Macrolides||Pneumonia, H. pylori, chlamydia, and acute nonspecific urethritis.||Both|
|Aminoglycosides||Aerobic bacilli, staphylococci, and certain mycobacteria||Both|
|Tetracyclines||Escherichia coli and Haemophilus influenzae||Both|
|Polypeptides||Escherichia coli and several filamentous fungi||Positive|
|Sulfonamides||Staphylococci and streptococci||Both|
|Fluoroquinolones||Staphylococci and streptococci||Negative|
No antibiotic is always safe in all patients. Side effects should be monitored and managed in patients. Side effects are often mild but can be quite serious. Fortunately, the side effects common to different antimicrobials are well documented, allowing clinicians to screen for them. The means of antimicrobial dosing has a major impact on side effects. Some antimicrobials have serious side effects when administered orally or intravenously but are safe when applied topically to the skin.
A major dilemma in the evolution and spread of antimicrobial resistance is a global public health problem. Bacteria rapidly evolve resistance to antimicrobials, especially when the drugs are not managed appropriately. There is a constant struggle between the development of new antimicrobials and bacterial evolution to circumvent them. Microbial genes conferring resistance to antimicrobials are often coded on DNA strands separate from the microbe's chromosome called plasmids. These extrachromosomal plasmid resistance genes are readily spread among different species and strains of bacteria and have led to the rapid acquisition of resistance to multiple drugs by some strains.