How Do Ketolides Work?

Reviewed on 10/22/2021

How Do Ketolides Work?

Ketolides are a new class of antibacterial drugs (derived from macrolides) designed specifically to fight respiratory tract pathogens that are resistant to macrolides. Ketolides work by inhibiting protein synthesis and blocking the ability of bacteria to make essential proteins required for their maintenance and survival. Ketolides bind with the bacterial ribosomes (target sites of ketolides) and exert both bacteriostatic and bactericidal activity, indicating that they can not only stop their multiplication (and spread) but also kill them eventually.

Ketolides are derived from a structural change made to erythromycin A (a drug belonging to the macrolide class). Ketolides are mainly metabolized by the liver and exhibit good activity against gram-positive and a few gram-negative aerobes (strong action against Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus pyogenes).

How Are Ketolides Used?

Ketolides are used to treat:

Ketolides are associated with fatal liver toxicity and should be avoided in people with liver dysfunction. Patients on ketolides should be assessed for liver function regularly.

What Are Side Effets of Ketolides?

Common side effects are usually mild and rarely need drug withdrawal.

Common side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness

Other rare side effects include:

  • Liver toxicity
  • Exacerbation of myasthenia gravis (telithromycin should be avoided in patients with myasthenia gravis as it can exacerbate the condition and can lead to severe breathing problems)
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis (painful redness of spin that spreads quickly, skin peeling, rawness of skin, and fever)

The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

What Are Drug Names of Ketolides?

Drug names include:


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