Antibacterial drugs classification with examples


Antibacterial drugs just like the name sounds are drug classes used in treating infections of bacterial origin.

It is necessary to point out here that antibiotics are different from antibacterials. Antibiotics comprises antibacterials, antifungals and antiviral drugs.

Antibiotics therefore can be antibacterial antibiotics, antiviral antibiotics or antifungals antibiotics depending on the type of infections they are used to treat.

Antibacterial drugs classifications are done on different basis and these can be grouped into five. This can be based on:

  1. their origin or how they’re sourced
  2. their effects on bacteria
  3. How many bacteria infection they can be used to treat (Spectrum of Activity)
  4. their mechanism of action or how they kill bacteria or stop their growth
  5. their chemical structure

Classification of antibacterial drugs based on their origin or sources

This classification of antibacterial drugs is based on where these drugs classes are sourced. This classification system groups them into:

  1. Natural antibacterial drugs
  2. Synthetic antibacterial drugs and
  3. Semi-Synthetic

Natural antibacterial drugs are those that are obtained from nature including plants, animals, microorganisms and minerals. They’re at times in there crude form and used usually as concotions, powder, capsules etc. These can never and should never be prepared or administered as injectables.

Even though they’re antibacterials, they can still be contaminated by either bacteria, or fungi especially in their natural state. So, injecting them into the body will be highly dangerous.

Examples of natural antibacterial drugs include the following:

  1. Allicin from garlic and onions
  2. Eugenol from clove
  3. Thymol from thyme
  4. Carvacrol from oregano
  5. Vanillin from vanilla
  6. Cinnamic aldehyde from cinnamon
  7. Allyl isothiocyanate from mustard
  8. Essential oils
  9. Citrus, lemon grass and lime peel extract
  10. Curcumin from tumeric etc

Synthetic Antibacterial Drugs

Synthetic antibacterial drugs are the class that are produced from chemicals in Pharmaceutical chemistry laboratories.

They usually come in standardized dosage forms including:

  • Tablets and capsules
  • Powder for suspensions
  • Syrups
  • Creams
  • Suppositories
  • Injections
  • Patches
  • Inhalers etc.

Classes of Synthetic Antibacterial Drugs include:

  1. Penicillins
  2. Cephalosporins
  3. Macrolides
  4. Aminoglycosides
  5. Fluoroquinolones and quinolones
  6. Beta-Lactams
  7. Tetracyclines
  8. Lincomycins
  9. Carbapenems
  10. Monobactams
  11. Lincosamide
  12. Streptogramins
  13. Oxazolidinones
  14. Others:
  • Glycopeptide derivatives
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Sulphonamides
  • Metronidazole
  • Rifamycins
  • Pyrimidine derivatives
  • Daptomycin
  • Fosfomycin
  • Lefamulin
  • Mupirocin
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Polypeptide Antibacterial drugs
  • Spectinomycin
  • Trimethoprim
  • Vancomycin

Semi-Synthetic Antibacterial Drugs

When natural antibacterial drugs are slightly modified chemically, it births semisynthetic Antibacterial drugs. This is usually done to improve the natural antibacterial drugs thereby increasing its advantages and uses.

This alteration or modification reduces the toxicity of the natural ones while improving their effectiveness and elongating their self life.

Examples of semisynthetic Antibacterial Drugs include

  • Telavancin
  • Dalbavancin
  • Oritavancin




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