Aminoglycosides are a class of antibiotics Overview of Antibiotics Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial infections. They are ineffective against viral infections and most other infections. Antibiotics either kill microorganisms or stop them from reproducing... read more used to treat serious bacterial infections, such as those caused by gram-negative bacteria Overview of Gram-Negative Bacteria Gram-negative bacteria are classified by the color they turn after a chemical process called Gram staining is used on them. Gram-negative bacteria stain red when this process is used. Other... read more (especially Pseudomonas aeruginosa).
Aminoglycosides include the following:
Spectinomycin is chemically related to aminoglycosides and works in a similar way. It is not available in the United States.
Aminoglycosides work by preventing bacteria from producing proteins they need to grow and multiply.
These antibiotics are poorly absorbed Drug Absorption Drug absorption is the movement of a drug into the bloodstream after administration. (See also Introduction to Administration and Kinetics of Drugs.) Absorption affects bioavailability—how quickly... read more into the bloodstream when taken by mouth (orally), so they are usually injected into a vein or sometimes a muscle. In the United States, kanamycin and neomycin are available only for topical and oral use (orally they are used to decontaminate the digestive tract because they are not absorbed). These antibiotics are usually used with another antibiotic that is effective against many types of bacteria (called a broad-spectrum antibiotic).
All aminoglycosides can damage the ears and kidneys. So, if possible, doctors often choose a different type of antibiotic.
(See also Overview of Antibiotics Overview of Antibiotics Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial infections. They are ineffective against viral infections and most other infections. Antibiotics either kill microorganisms or stop them from reproducing... read more .)
Use of Aminoglycosides During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
If aminoglycosides are taken during pregnancy Some Drugs That Can Cause Problems During Pregnancy* More than 50% of pregnant women take prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter) drugs or use social drugs (such as tobacco and alcohol) or illicit drugs at some time during pregnancy... read more harmful effects on the fetus (such as hearing loss) are possible, but sometimes the benefits of treatment may outweigh the risks. (See also Drug Use During Pregnancy Drug Use During Pregnancy More than 50% of pregnant women take prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter) drugs or use social drugs (such as tobacco and alcohol) or illicit drugs at some time during pregnancy... read more .)
Use of aminoglycosides during breastfeeding is generally considered acceptable. (See also Drug Use During Breastfeeding Drug Use During Breastfeeding When mothers who are breastfeeding have to take a drug, they wonder whether they should stop breastfeeding. The answer depends on the following: How much of the drug passes into the milk Whether... read more .)