The antibiotic 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 chloramphenicol is used mainly to treat serious infections due to the few bacteria that are resistant to other antibiotics but are still susceptible to chloramphenicol. Its use is limited because it interferes with the production of blood cells in bone marrow, greatly reducing the number of blood cells (blood cell counts), which, in some people, can be irreversible and fatal, and so this drug is used only if no safer drugs are available.
Chloramphenicol works by interfering with the bacteria's production of the proteins needed to grow and multiply.
Chloramphenicol is commonly used to treat typhoid and other salmonella infections Salmonella Infections The gram-negative bacteria Salmonella typically cause diarrhea and sometimes cause a more serious infection, typhoid fever. People are usually infected when they eat contaminated food, such... read more , rickettsial infections Overview of Rickettsial Infections Rickettsial infections and related infections (such as anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and Q fever) are caused by an unusual type of bacteria that can live only inside the cells of another organism... read more , and meningitis Acute Bacterial Meningitis Acute bacterial meningitis is rapidly developing inflammation of the layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord (meninges) and of the fluid-filled space between the meninges (subarachnoid... read more .
(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 Chloramphenicol During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Chloramphenicol should be used during pregnancy only when the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks. Chloramphenicol may cause gray baby syndrome, a serious and often fatal reaction to the drug. (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 chloramphenicol during breastfeeding is not recommended. (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 .)