Fluoroquinolones

Fluoroquinolones are a group of broad-spectrum, bactericidal antibiotics inhibiting bacterial DNA replication DNA replication The entire DNA of a cell is replicated during the S (synthesis) phase of the cell cycle. The principle of replication is based on complementary nucleotide base pairing: adenine forms hydrogen bonds with thymine (or uracil in RNA) and guanine forms hydrogen bonds with cytosine. DNA Replication. Fluoroquinolones cover gram-negative, anaerobic, and atypical organisms, as well as some gram-positive and multidrug-resistant (MDR) organisms. A new fluoroquinolone, delafloxacin, covers both Pseudomonas Pseudomonas Pseudomonas is a non-lactose-fermenting, gram-negative bacillus that produces pyocyanin, which gives it a characteristic blue-green color. Pseudomonas is found ubiquitously in the environment, as well as in moist reservoirs, such as hospital sinks and respiratory equipment. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and MRSA. Although fluoroquinolones have a wide spectrum of activity, the use is limited secondary to a number of risks associated with the fluoroquinolone class (i.e. permanent peripheral neuropathy and tendon rupture in children). Fluoroquinolones are indicated in complicated urinary, respiratory, intra-abdominal, bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Structure of Bones, joint, and skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Structure and Function of the Skin infections. Fluoroquinolones are 2nd-line agents used to treat tuberculosis Tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex bacteria. The bacteria usually attack the lungs but can also damage other parts of the body. Approximately 30% of people around the world are infected with this pathogen, with the majority harboring a latent infection. Tuberculosis spreads through the air when a person with active pulmonary infection coughs or sneezes. Tuberculosis and 1st-line agents in a number of less common infections (e.g., anthrax Anthrax Anthrax is an infection caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which usually targets the skin, lungs, or intestines. Anthrax is a zoonotic disease and is usually transmitted to humans from animals or through animal products. Symptoms depend on which organ system is affected. Anthrax, plague Plague The plague is a bacterial infection caused by Yersinia pestis (Y. pestis), which primarily infects rodents. The disease is transmitted to humans via a flea bite. Inhalation of infectious droplets and handling infected animals or laboratory specimens are other means of transmission. The plague has 3 forms: bubonic (most common form), septicemic, and pneumonic. Yersinia pestis/Plague, and tularemia).

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Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

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Classification and Chemistry

Classification

Fluoroquinolones are a class of broad-spectrum antibiotics. The common medications in the class include:

  • 1st generation: norfloxacin (no longer clinically used)
  • 2nd generation:
    • Ciprofloxacin (prototypical drug)
    • Ofloxacin
  • 3rd generation:
    • Levofloxacin
    • Moxifloxacin
    • Gemifloxacin
  • 4th generation: delafloxacin

Chemical structure

Fluoroquinolone structures:

  • Bicyclic core structure (all)
  • Ketone functional group (quinolones)
  • Fluorine atom (fluoroquinolones)

Mechanisms of Action and Resistance

Mechanism of action

  • Fluoroquinolones directly inhibit bacterial DNA DNA The molecule DNA is the repository of heritable genetic information. In humans, DNA is contained in 23 chromosome pairs within the nucleus. The molecule provides the basic template for replication of genetic information, RNA transcription, and protein biosynthesis to promote cellular function and survival. DNA Types and Structure synthesis by binding to:
    • Topoisomerase II ( DNA DNA The molecule DNA is the repository of heritable genetic information. In humans, DNA is contained in 23 chromosome pairs within the nucleus. The molecule provides the basic template for replication of genetic information, RNA transcription, and protein biosynthesis to promote cellular function and survival. DNA Types and Structure gyrase) in gram-negative organisms
    • Topoisomerase IV in gram-positive organisms
  • Topoisomerase enzymes Enzymes Enzymes are complex protein biocatalysts that accelerate chemical reactions without being consumed by them. Due to the body's constant metabolic needs, the absence of enzymes would make life unsustainable, as reactions would occur too slowly without these molecules. Basics of Enzymes:
    • Unwind DNA DNA The molecule DNA is the repository of heritable genetic information. In humans, DNA is contained in 23 chromosome pairs within the nucleus. The molecule provides the basic template for replication of genetic information, RNA transcription, and protein biosynthesis to promote cellular function and survival. DNA Types and Structure prior to replication
    • Have both nuclease ( DNA DNA The molecule DNA is the repository of heritable genetic information. In humans, DNA is contained in 23 chromosome pairs within the nucleus. The molecule provides the basic template for replication of genetic information, RNA transcription, and protein biosynthesis to promote cellular function and survival. DNA Types and Structure cleaving) and ligase ( DNA DNA The molecule DNA is the repository of heritable genetic information. In humans, DNA is contained in 23 chromosome pairs within the nucleus. The molecule provides the basic template for replication of genetic information, RNA transcription, and protein biosynthesis to promote cellular function and survival. DNA Types and Structure repairing) activity
  • Fluoroquinolone binding to enzymes Enzymes Enzymes are complex protein biocatalysts that accelerate chemical reactions without being consumed by them. Due to the body's constant metabolic needs, the absence of enzymes would make life unsustainable, as reactions would occur too slowly without these molecules. Basics of Enzymes results in:
    • Inhibition of ligase activity only
    • DNA DNA The molecule DNA is the repository of heritable genetic information. In humans, DNA is contained in 23 chromosome pairs within the nucleus. The molecule provides the basic template for replication of genetic information, RNA transcription, and protein biosynthesis to promote cellular function and survival. DNA Types and Structure cleavage without the ability to repair the DNA DNA The molecule DNA is the repository of heritable genetic information. In humans, DNA is contained in 23 chromosome pairs within the nucleus. The molecule provides the basic template for replication of genetic information, RNA transcription, and protein biosynthesis to promote cellular function and survival. DNA Types and Structure
    • Cessation of DNA replication DNA replication The entire DNA of a cell is replicated during the S (synthesis) phase of the cell cycle. The principle of replication is based on complementary nucleotide base pairing: adenine forms hydrogen bonds with thymine (or uracil in RNA) and guanine forms hydrogen bonds with cytosine. DNA Replication with broken DNA DNA The molecule DNA is the repository of heritable genetic information. In humans, DNA is contained in 23 chromosome pairs within the nucleus. The molecule provides the basic template for replication of genetic information, RNA transcription, and protein biosynthesis to promote cellular function and survival. DNA Types and Structure strands
    • Cell death Cell death Injurious stimuli trigger the process of cellular adaptation, whereby cells respond to withstand the harmful changes in their environment. Overwhelmed adaptive mechanisms lead to cell injury. Mild stimuli produce reversible injury. If the stimulus is severe or persistent, injury becomes irreversible. Apoptosis is programmed cell death, a mechanism with both physiologic and pathologic effects. Cell Injury and Death → fluoroquinolones are bactericidal

Mechanisms of resistance

The dominant mechanisms of fluoroquinolone resistance:

  • ↓ Accumulation of the drug within bacterial cells:
    • ↓ Expression of porin channels → ↓ entry of the drug into cells
    • ↑ Expression of efflux pumps
  • ↓ Affinity of the drug to the target:
    • Chromosomal point mutations change the structure of the topoisomerase and affect the binding site.
    • The mutations are drug and bug specific (e.g., gyrA genes in Neisseria Neisseria Neisseria is a genus of bacteria commonly present on mucosal surfaces. Several species exist, but only 2 are pathogenic to humans: N. gonorrhoeae and N. meningitidis. Neisseria species are non-motile, gram-negative diplococci most commonly isolated on modified Thayer-Martin (MTM) agar. Neisseria gonorrhoeae)
    • Plasmid-mediated resistance (typically a low-level resistance)

Clinically important resistance patterns

As resistance to fluoroquinolones becomes more common, fluoroquinolone use may be limited for the following indications:

  • Neisseria Neisseria Neisseria is a genus of bacteria commonly present on mucosal surfaces. Several species exist, but only 2 are pathogenic to humans: N. gonorrhoeae and N. meningitidis. Neisseria species are non-motile, gram-negative diplococci most commonly isolated on modified Thayer-Martin (MTM) agar. Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Pseudomonas Pseudomonas Pseudomonas is a non-lactose-fermenting, gram-negative bacillus that produces pyocyanin, which gives it a characteristic blue-green color. Pseudomonas is found ubiquitously in the environment, as well as in moist reservoirs, such as hospital sinks and respiratory equipment. Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Urinary tract infections Urinary tract infections Urinary tract infections (UTIs) represent a wide spectrum of diseases, from self-limiting simple cystitis to severe pyelonephritis that can result in sepsis and death. Urinary tract infections are most commonly caused by Escherichia coli, but may also be caused by other bacteria and fungi. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • Typhoid

Pharmacokinetics

Absorption Absorption Absorption involves the uptake of nutrient molecules and their transfer from the lumen of the GI tract across the enterocytes and into the interstitial space, where they can be taken up in the venous or lymphatic circulation. Digestion and Absorption

  • Well absorbed in the upper GI tract
  • Good oral bioavailability
    • Levofloxacin (99%) > moxifloxacin (90%) > gemifloxacin/ciprofloxacin (70%) > delafloxacin (60%)
    • Ingestion with dairy, mineral supplements, and most antacids can significantly ↓ bioavailability
  • Peak concentrations: 1–3 hours after an oral dose

Distribution

  • Large volumes of distribution (VD): most exceed the total body water volume → the drug accumulates in the tissue
  • Drugs concentrate in:
    • Prostate Prostate The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. The gland surrounds the bladder neck and a portion of the urethra. The prostate is an exocrine gland that produces a weakly acidic secretion, which accounts for roughly 20% of the seminal fluid. Prostate and other Male Reproductive Glands tissue
    • Bile and stool
    • Lungs
    • Kidneys Kidneys The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located retroperitoneally against the posterior wall of the abdomen on either side of the spine. As part of the urinary tract, the kidneys are responsible for blood filtration and excretion of water-soluble waste in the urine. Kidneys (except moxifloxacin)
    • Neutrophils and macrophages

Metabolism

  • < 15% of drug concentrations undergo hepatic metabolism (except moxifloxacin)
  • Moxifloxacin:
    • Approximately 50% of the drug is metabolized in the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver.
    • Metabolized via glucuronidation and sulfate conjugation rather than CYP450 mechanisms
  • Ciprofloxacin: 
    • Inhibits CYP1A2 → can ↑ the levels of drugs metabolized by CYP1A2
    • Some affected drugs include:
      • Clozapine
      • Theophylline
      • Tizanidine

Excretion

  • Elimination:
    • Primarily via renal tubular secretion (except moxifloxacin)
    • Some fecal excretion for ciprofloxacin, moxifloxacin, gemifloxacin, and delafloxacin
  • Moxifloxacin:
    • Hepatic clearance
    • May be used in renal failure
    • Should not be used for UTIs
  • Half-life: 3–9 hours (typically dosed twice daily)

Spectrum of Activity

Fluoroquinolones are considered broad-spectrum antibiotics: Ciprofloxacin covers gram-negative rods the best; Levofloxacin and moxifloxacin provide excellent coverage of most potential respiratory pathogens; Delafloxacin covers both P. aeruginosa and MRSA.

Aerobic gram-negative organisms

  • Drugs with activity:
    • Most fluoroquinolones are highly active against gram-negative rods.
    • Ciprofloxacin has the most activity.
  • Organisms covered by fluoroquinolones:
    • Enterobacteriaceae: 
      • Escherichia coli Escherichia coli The gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli is a key component of the human gut microbiota. Most strains of E. coli are avirulent, but occasionally they escape the GI tract, infecting the urinary tract and other sites. Less common strains of E. coli are able to cause disease within the GI tract, most commonly presenting as abdominal pain and diarrhea. Escherichia coli
      • Klebsiella Klebsiella Klebsiella are encapsulated gram-negative, lactose-fermenting bacilli. They form pink colonies on MacConkey agar due to lactose fermentation. The main virulence factor is a polysaccharide capsule. Klebsiella pneumoniae is the most important pathogenic species. Klebsiella spp.
      • Proteus Proteus Proteus spp. are gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic bacilli. Different types of infection result from Proteus, but the urinary tract is the most common site. The majority of cases are caused by Proteus mirabilis (P. mirabilis). The bacteria are part of the normal intestinal flora and are also found in the environment. Enterobacteriaceae: Proteus spp.
    • Haemophilus Haemophilus Haemophilus is a genus of Gram-negative coccobacilli, all of whose strains require at least 1 of 2 factors for growth (factor V [NAD] and factor X [heme]); therefore, it is most often isolated on chocolate agar, which can supply both factors. The pathogenic species are H. influenzae and H. ducreyi. Haemophilus spp.
    • Moraxella Moraxella Moraxella is a genus of gram-negative diplococci, with M. catarrhalis being the most clinically relevant species. M. catarrhalis is part of the normal flora of the upper respiratory tract, but it can cause infection in susceptible individuals. The infection is transmitted through respiratory droplets and can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations in adults and otitis media in children. Moraxella catarrhalis
    • P. aeruginosa (ciprofloxacin > levofloxacin and delafloxacin > moxifloxacin)
    • Neisseria Neisseria Neisseria is a genus of bacteria commonly present on mucosal surfaces. Several species exist, but only 2 are pathogenic to humans: N. gonorrhoeae and N. meningitidis. Neisseria species are non-motile, gram-negative diplococci most commonly isolated on modified Thayer-Martin (MTM) agar. Neisseria meningitidis and N. gonorrhoeae

Aerobic gram-positive organisms

  • Drugs with activity: 
    • Primarily the later generation drugs: 
      • Levofloxacin
      • Moxifloxacin
      • Delafloxacin
    • Ciprofloxacin has limited-to-no activity against the organisms.
  • Organisms covered:
    • Staphylococcus Staphylococcus Staphylococcus is a medically important genera of Gram-positive, aerobic cocci. These bacteria form clusters resembling grapes on culture plates. Staphylococci are ubiquitous for humans, and many strains compose the normal skin flora. Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA by delafloxacin only)
    • Some Streptococcus Streptococcus Streptococcus is one of the two medically important genera of gram-positive cocci, the other being Staphylococcus. Streptococci are identified as different species on blood agar on the basis of their hemolytic pattern and sensitivity to optochin and bacitracin. There are many pathogenic species of streptococci, including S. pyogenes, S. agalactiae, S. pneumoniae, and the viridans streptococci. Streptococcus spp. (including S. pneumoniae)

Atypical and anaerobic respiratory pathogens

Atypical organisms 

  • Drugs with activity:
    • Levofloxacin
    • Moxifloxacin
  • Organisms covered: 
    • Mycoplasma Mycoplasma Mycoplasma is a species of pleomorphic bacteria that lack a cell wall, which makes them difficult to target with conventional antibiotics and causes them to not gram stain well. Mycoplasma bacteria commonly target the respiratory and urogenital epithelium. Mycoplasma pneumoniae (M. pneumoniae), the causative agent of atypical or "walking" pneumonia. Mycoplasma spp. (M. tuberculosis Tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex bacteria. The bacteria usually attack the lungs but can also damage other parts of the body. Approximately 30% of people around the world are infected with this pathogen, with the majority harboring a latent infection. Tuberculosis spreads through the air when a person with active pulmonary infection coughs or sneezes. Tuberculosis):
      • 2nd-line agents to treat tuberculosis Tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex bacteria. The bacteria usually attack the lungs but can also damage other parts of the body. Approximately 30% of people around the world are infected with this pathogen, with the majority harboring a latent infection. Tuberculosis spreads through the air when a person with active pulmonary infection coughs or sneezes. Tuberculosis
      • Used in cases of resistance and/or intolerance to 1st-line agents
    • Legionella Legionella Legionella is a facultative intracellular, gram-negative bacilli. Legionella does not grow on common culture media because it requires certain supplementation (cysteine and iron). Legionella pneumophila (L. pneumophila) accounts for the majority of human infections. Legionella/Legionellosis spp.
    • Chlamydia Chlamydia Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular gram-negative bacteria. They lack a peptidoglycan layer and are best visualized using Giemsa stain. The family of Chlamydiaceae comprises 3 pathogens that can infect humans: Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydia psittaci, and Chlamydia pneumoniae. Chlamydia pneumoniae

Anaerobic organisms

  • Moxifloxacin only
  • Covers anaerobic respiratory infections:
    • Aspiration pneumonia Pneumonia Pneumonia or pulmonary inflammation is an acute or chronic inflammation of lung tissue. Causes include infection with bacteria, viruses, or fungi. In more rare cases, pneumonia can also be caused through toxic triggers through inhalation of toxic substances, immunological processes, or in the course of radiotherapy. Pneumonia
    • Lung abscess
  • Generally not effective against Bacteroides Bacteroides Bacteroides is a genus of opportunistic, anaerobic, gram-negative bacilli. Bacteroides fragilis is the most common species involved in human disease and is part of the normal flora of the large intestine. Bacteroides (limited use for intra-abdominal infections)

Other organisms

Fluoroquinolones are also considered 1st-line options against susceptible infections caused by:

  • Bacillus anthracis
  • Francisella tularensis
  • Salmonella Salmonella Salmonellae are gram-negative bacilli of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Salmonellae are flagellated, non-lactose-fermenting, and hydrogen sulfide-producing microbes. Salmonella enterica, the most common disease-causing species in humans, is further classified based on serotype as typhoidal (S. typhi and paratyphi) and nontyphoidal (S. enteritidis and typhimurium). Salmonella typhi
  • Yersinia pestis Yersinia pestis The plague is a bacterial infection caused by Yersinia pestis (Y. pestis), which primarily infects rodents. The disease is transmitted to humans via a flea bite. Inhalation of infectious droplets and handling infected animals or laboratory specimens are other means of transmission. The plague has 3 forms: bubonic (most common form), septicemic, and pneumonic. Yersinia pestis/Plague

Indications

Compared to other antibiotics, fluoroquinolones are associated with a higher risk of potentially permanent and disabling adverse events. Therefore, fluoroquinolones are generally not used for uncomplicated infections and should only be used against susceptible bacteria Bacteria Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms that are metabolically active and divide by binary fission. Some of these organisms play a significant role in the pathogenesis of diseases. Bacteriology: Overview.

Complicated infections

  • Genitourinary infections:
    • Complicated UTIs and pyelonephritis Pyelonephritis Pyelonephritis is infection affecting the renal pelvis and the renal parenchyma. This condition arises mostly as a complication of bladder infection that ascends to the upper urinary tract. Pyelonephritis can be acute or chronic (which results from persistent or chronic infections). Typical acute symptoms are flank pain, fever, and nausea with vomiting. T Pyelonephritis and Perinephric Abscess
    • Prostatitis Prostatitis Prostatitis is inflammation or an irritative condition of the prostate that presents as different syndromes: acute bacterial, chronic bacterial, chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain, and asymptomatic. Bacterial prostatitis is easier to identify clinically and the management (antibiotics) is better established. Prostatitis (acute and chronic)
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease Pelvic inflammatory disease Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is defined as a polymicrobial infection of the upper female reproductive system. The disease can affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and adjacent structures. Pelvic inflammatory disease is closely linked with sexually transmitted diseases, most commonly caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Gardnerella vaginalis. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
    • May be used in uncomplicated cystitis when no alternative options exist
  • Respiratory infections:
    • Hospital-acquired pneumonia Pneumonia Pneumonia or pulmonary inflammation is an acute or chronic inflammation of lung tissue. Causes include infection with bacteria, viruses, or fungi. In more rare cases, pneumonia can also be caused through toxic triggers through inhalation of toxic substances, immunological processes, or in the course of radiotherapy. Pneumonia
    • Pneumonia caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) S. pneumoniae
    • Atypical pneumonia Pneumonia Pneumonia or pulmonary inflammation is an acute or chronic inflammation of lung tissue. Causes include infection with bacteria, viruses, or fungi. In more rare cases, pneumonia can also be caused through toxic triggers through inhalation of toxic substances, immunological processes, or in the course of radiotherapy. Pneumonia
    • Tuberculosis (levofloxacin and moxifloxacin (2nd-line agents))
    • May be used in uncomplicated infections when no alternative options exist:
      • Bacterial sinusitis Sinusitis Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the mucosal lining of the paranasal sinuses. The condition usually occurs concurrently with inflammation of the nasal mucosa (rhinitis), a condition known as rhinosinusitis. Acute sinusitis is due to an upper respiratory infection caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal agent. Sinusitis
      • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease characterized by progressive, largely irreversible airflow obstruction. The condition usually presents in middle-aged or elderly persons with a history of cigarette smoking. Signs and symptoms include prolonged expiration, wheezing, diminished breath sounds, progressive dyspnea, and chronic cough. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) ( COPD COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease characterized by progressive, largely irreversible airflow obstruction. The condition usually presents in middle-aged or elderly persons with a history of cigarette smoking. Signs and symptoms include prolonged expiration, wheezing, diminished breath sounds, progressive dyspnea, and chronic cough. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)) exacerbations
  • Abdominal infections:
    • Complicated intra-abdominal infections (in combination with metronidazole for anaerobic coverage)
    • Peritonitis and infection related to a peritoneal dialysis Dialysis Renal replacement therapy refers to dialysis and/or kidney transplantation. Dialysis is a procedure by which toxins and excess water are removed from the circulation. Hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis (PD) are the two types of dialysis, and their primary difference is the location of the filtration process (external to the body in hemodialysis versus inside the body for PD). Overview and Types of Dialysis catheter
  • Skin, soft tissue, and musculoskeletal infections:
    • Bone and joint infections (including prosthetic joint infections)
    • Diabetic foot Foot The foot is the terminal portion of the lower limb, whose primary function is to bear weight and facilitate locomotion. The foot comprises 26 bones, including the tarsal bones, metatarsal bones, and phalanges. The bones of the foot form longitudinal and transverse arches and are supported by various muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Foot infections
    • Skin infections
    • Surgical prophylaxis in patients allergic to 1st-line agents (e.g., cephalosporins Cephalosporins Cephalosporins are a group of bactericidal beta-lactam antibiotics (similar to penicillins) that exert their effects by preventing bacteria from producing their cell walls, ultimately leading to cell death. Cephalosporins are categorized by generation and all drug names begin with "cef-" or "ceph-." Cephalosporins)
    • Infections from bite wounds
  • Nervous system Nervous system The nervous system is a small and complex system that consists of an intricate network of neural cells (or neurons) and even more glial cells (for support and insulation). It is divided according to its anatomical components as well as its functional characteristics. The brain and spinal cord are referred to as the central nervous system, and the branches of nerves from these structures are referred to as the peripheral nervous system. General Structure of the Nervous System infections: bacterial meningitis Meningitis Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the protective membranes of the brain, and spinal cord. The causes of meningitis are varied, with the most common being bacterial or viral infection. The classic presentation of meningitis is a triad of fever, altered mental status, and nuchal rigidity. Meningitis

Infections caused by single organisms

  • Travelers diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea (E. coli, Shigella Shigella Shigella is a genus of gram-negative, non-lactose-fermenting facultative intracellular bacilli. Infection spreads most commonly via person-to-person contact or through contaminated food and water. Humans are the only known reservoir. Shigella, or Campylobacter Campylobacter Campylobacter ("curved bacteria") is a genus of thermophilic, S-shaped, gram-negative bacilli. There are many species of Campylobacter, with C. jejuni and C. coli most commonly implicated in human disease. Campylobacter)
  • Typhoid fever Typhoid Fever Typhoid (or enteric) fever is a severe, systemic bacterial infection classically caused by the facultative intracellular and Gram-negative bacilli Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi (S. Typhimurium, formerly S. typhi). S. paratyphi serotypes A, B, or C can cause a similar syndrome. Enteric Fever (Typhoid Fever) ( Salmonella Salmonella Salmonellae are gram-negative bacilli of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Salmonellae are flagellated, non-lactose-fermenting, and hydrogen sulfide-producing microbes. Salmonella enterica, the most common disease-causing species in humans, is further classified based on serotype as typhoidal (S. typhi and paratyphi) and nontyphoidal (S. enteritidis and typhimurium). Salmonella typhi)
  • Anthrax (Bacillus anthracis)
  • Tularemia (Francisella tularensis)
  • Plague ( Yersinia pestis Yersinia pestis The plague is a bacterial infection caused by Yersinia pestis (Y. pestis), which primarily infects rodents. The disease is transmitted to humans via a flea bite. Inhalation of infectious droplets and handling infected animals or laboratory specimens are other means of transmission. The plague has 3 forms: bubonic (most common form), septicemic, and pneumonic. Yersinia pestis/Plague)
  • Cat scratch disease ( Bartonella Bartonella Bartonella is a genus of gram-negative bacteria in the family Bartonellaceae. As a facultative intracellular parasite, Bartonella can infect healthy people as well as act as an opportunistic pathogen. Bartonella species are transmitted by vectors such as ticks, fleas, sandflies, and mosquitoes. B. henselae is the most common of the 3 species known to cause human disease. Bartonella henselae)
  • Cholera ( Vibrio Vibrio Vibrio is a genus of comma-shaped, gram-negative bacilli. It is halophilic, acid labile, and commonly isolated on thiosulfate-citrate-bile-sucrose (TCBS) agar. There are 3 clinically relevant species: Vibrio cholerae (V. cholerae), Vibrio vulnificus (V. vulnificus), and Vibrio parahaemolyticus (V. parahaemolyticus). Vibrio cholerae)
  • Chancroid Chancroid Chancroid is a highly transmissible STD caused by Haemophilus ducreyi. The disease presents with painful ulcer(s) on the genital tract (termed chancroid or "soft chancre"). Up to 50% of patients will develop painful inguinal lymphadenopathy. Chancroid ( Haemophilus Haemophilus Haemophilus is a genus of Gram-negative coccobacilli, all of whose strains require at least 1 of 2 factors for growth (factor V [NAD] and factor X [heme]); therefore, it is most often isolated on chocolate agar, which can supply both factors. The pathogenic species are H. influenzae and H. ducreyi. Haemophilus ducreyi)

Adverse Effects and Contraindications

Adverse effects

Fluoroquinolones carry higher risks than many other antibiotics, which limits the use. Although adverse effects are uncommon, some may be permanent or severe.

  • Neurologic effects:
    • Common mild effects: 
      • Headache
      • Dizziness
      • Insomnia Insomnia Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty in the initiation, maintenance, and consolidation of sleep, leading to impairment of function. Patients may exhibit symptoms such as difficulty falling asleep, disrupted sleep, trouble going back to sleep, early awakenings, and feeling tired upon waking. Insomnia (transient)
    • Less common, more serious effects:
      • Peripheral neuropathy (may be permanent)
      • Delirium Delirium Delirium is a medical condition characterized by acute disturbances in attention and awareness. Symptoms may fluctuate during the course of a day and involve memory deficits and disorientation. Delirium, psychosis, and/or hallucinations
      • Seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
    • Exacerbation of myasthenia gravis Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder characterized by weakness and fatigability of skeletal muscles caused by dysfunction/destruction of acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction. MG presents with fatigue, ptosis, diplopia, dysphagia, respiratory difficulties, and progressive weakness in the limbs, leading to difficulty in movement. Myasthenia Gravis
  • Musculoskeletal effects (especially in growing children and teenagers):
    • Tendinopathy, including tendon rupture:
      • Most often the Achilles tendon
      • Advise individuals to stop taking fluoroquinolone if pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain and/or swelling develop.
    • Arthropathy:
      • Cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage erosions
      • Noninflammatory effusions
  • GI effects:
    • Nausea, vomiting, and/or abdominal discomfort
    • Diarrhea (less common)
    • Clostridioides difficile infection
    • Hepatotoxicity (several drugs have been removed from the market due to hepatotoxicity)
  • Cardiovascular effects:
    • QT prolongation
    • Aortic aneurysm Aneurysm An aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area of a blood vessel that causes an abnormal widening of its diameter > 1.5 times the size of the native vessel. Aneurysms occur more often in arteries than in veins and are at risk of dissection and rupture, which can be life-threatening. Extremity and Visceral Aneurysms and dissection
  • Other effects:
    • Skin rashes Rashes Rashes are a group of diseases that cause abnormal coloration and texture to the skin. The etiologies are numerous but can include irritation, allergens, infections, or inflammatory conditions. Rashes that present in only 1 area of the body are called localized rashes. Generalized rashes occur diffusely throughout the body. Generalized and Localized Rashes
    • Phototoxicity
    • Dysglycemia (highest risk is with moxifloxacin in diabetic individuals)

Contraindications

  • Hypersensitivity to fluoroquinolones
  • Pregnancy Pregnancy Pregnancy is the time period between fertilization of an oocyte and delivery of a fetus approximately 9 months later. The 1st sign of pregnancy is typically a missed menstrual period, after which, pregnancy should be confirmed clinically based on a positive β-HCG test (typically a qualitative urine test) and pelvic ultrasound. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Maternal Physiology, and Routine Care
  • Growing children and teenagers
  • Concurrent use with other medications prolonging the QT interval
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Use with caution with:
    • Diabetes
    • Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a symmetric, inflammatory polyarthritis and chronic, progressive, autoimmune disorder. Presentation occurs most commonly in middle-aged women with joint swelling, pain, and morning stiffness (often in the hands). Rheumatoid Arthritis (risk of tendon rupture)
    • Aortic aneurysm Aneurysm An aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area of a blood vessel that causes an abnormal widening of its diameter > 1.5 times the size of the native vessel. Aneurysms occur more often in arteries than in veins and are at risk of dissection and rupture, which can be life-threatening. Extremity and Visceral Aneurysms/dissection
    • Renal impairment (ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, and delafloxacin)
    • Hepatic impairment (moxifloxacin)

Comparison of Medications

Comparison based on mechanisms of action

Antibiotics can be classified in several ways. One way is to classify antibiotics by mechanism of action:

Table: Antibiotics classified by primary mechanism of action
Mechanism Classes of antibiotics
Bacterial cell wall synthesis inhibitors
  • Penicillins Penicillins Beta-lactam antibiotics contain a beta-lactam ring as a part of their chemical structure. Drugs in this class include penicillin G and V, penicillinase-sensitive and penicillinase-resistant penicillins, cephalosporins, carbapenems, and aztreonam. Penicillins
  • Cephalosporins
  • Penems
  • Miscellaneous
Bacterial protein synthesis inhibitors
  • Tetracyclines Tetracyclines Tetracyclines are a class of broad-spectrum antibiotics indicated for a wide variety of bacterial infections. These medications bind the 30S ribosomal subunit to inhibit protein synthesis of bacteria. Tetracyclines cover gram-positive and gram-negative organisms, as well as atypical bacteria such as chlamydia, mycoplasma, spirochetes, and even protozoa. Tetracyclines
  • Macrolides Macrolides Macrolides and ketolides are antibiotics that inhibit bacterial protein synthesis by binding to the 50S ribosomal subunit and blocking transpeptidation. These antibiotics have a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity but are best known for their coverage of atypical microorganisms. Macrolides and Ketolides
  • Ketolides
  • Lincosamides Lincosamides The lincosamides, lincomycin and clindamycin, are inhibitors of bacterial protein synthesis. Drugs in this class share the same binding site as that of macrolides and amphenicols; however, they differ in chemical structure. Lincosamides target the 50S ribosomal subunit and interfere with transpeptidation. Lincosamides
  • Streptogramins
  • Linezolid
Agents acting against DNA DNA The molecule DNA is the repository of heritable genetic information. In humans, DNA is contained in 23 chromosome pairs within the nucleus. The molecule provides the basic template for replication of genetic information, RNA transcription, and protein biosynthesis to promote cellular function and survival. DNA Types and Structure and/or folate Folate Folate and vitamin B12 are 2 of the most clinically important water-soluble vitamins. Deficiencies can present with megaloblastic anemia, GI symptoms, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and adverse pregnancy complications, including neural tube defects. Folate and Vitamin B12
  • Sulfonamides
  • Trimethoprim Trimethoprim The sulfonamides are a class of antimicrobial drugs inhibiting folic acid synthesize in pathogens. The prototypical drug in the class is sulfamethoxazole. Although not technically sulfonamides, trimethoprim, dapsone, and pyrimethamine are also important antimicrobial agents inhibiting folic acid synthesis. The agents are often combined with sulfonamides, resulting in a synergistic effect. Sulfonamides and Trimethoprim
  • Fluoroquinolones
Antimycobacterial agents Antimycobacterial Agents Antimycobacterial agents represent a diverse group of compounds that have activity against mycobacterial infections, including tuberculosis, leprosy and Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease. The 1st-line agents for tuberculosis are rifampin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol. Antimycobacterial Agents
  • Anti- TB TB Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex bacteria. The bacteria usually attack the lungs but can also damage other parts of the body. Approximately 30% of people around the world are infected with this pathogen, with the majority harboring a latent infection. Tuberculosis spreads through the air when a person with active pulmonary infection coughs or sneezes. Tuberculosis agents
  • Antileprosy agents
  • Atypical mycobacterial agents

Comparison based on coverage

Different antibiotics have varying degrees of activity against different bacteria Bacteria Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms that are metabolically active and divide by binary fission. Some of these organisms play a significant role in the pathogenesis of diseases. Bacteriology: Overview. The table below outlines the antibiotics with activity against 3 important classes of bacteria Bacteria Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms that are metabolically active and divide by binary fission. Some of these organisms play a significant role in the pathogenesis of diseases. Bacteriology: Overview: gram-positive cocci, gram-negative bacilli, and anaerobes.

Antibiotic sensitivity chart

Antibiotic sensitivity:
Chart comparing the microbial coverage of different antibiotics for gram-positive cocci, gram-negative bacilli, and anaerobes.

Image by Lecturio. License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

References

  1. Deck, D.H., Winston, L.G. (2013). Sulfonamides, Trimethoprim, and Quinolones. In Katzung, B.G., Masters, S.B., and Trevor, A.J. (Eds.), Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (12th Ed., pp. 831‒834). 
  2. Hooper, D.C. (2021). Fluoroquinolones. In Bogorodskaya, M. (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved July 20, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/fluoroquinolones 
  3. Lexicomp Drug Information Sheets (2021). In UpToDate. Retrieved July 20, 2021, from:

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