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Last Updated on March 16, 2024

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The active ingredient Chloramphenicol is an antibiotic. It is used to treat bacterial infections that are caused by pathogens which are sensitive to the antibiotic. Although Chloramphenicol acts as a broad-spectrum antibiotic against many germs, it is used because of possible serious side effects only as a reserve antibiotic, so if an antibiotic of first choice has no effect. Here you can read everything you need to Chloramphenicol: action, application and side effects

How Chloramphenicol works

The antibiotic Chloramphenicol acts specifically to bacterial cells and affects human and animal cells barely. At the site of the bacterial infection, it penetrates into the bacteria and prevents where production of bacterial proteins which are absolutely necessary for the metabolism, the division and thus multiplication of pathogens. Thus, Chloramphenicol is bacteriostatic, thus inhibiting growth. However, it has no bactericidal, ie bacteria killing effect. But alone the fact that the bacteria rapidly (usually even exponentially) can no longer multiply by the antibiotic, the human immune system has a good chance to fight the infection successfully.

In Germany Chloramphenicol is usually only topically, ie the place where it is to act, directly applied, for example as a cream, solution, ointment or in the form of eyedrops. Since the antibiotic is good tissue penetration, a part of the drug is absorbed into the blood through the skin. He is quickly verstoffwechsel by the liver and excreted in the urine.

When is Chloramphenicol used?

Originally Chloramphenicol is used for the treatment of, dysentery, typhus and malaria. Even with bacterial skin, eye and ear infections occur occasionally used.

Due to the possible development of resistance and the associated loss of activity against bacteria of drug Chloramphenicol should only be used short term for a maximum of 14 days.

How Chloramphenicol is used

The antibiotic Chloramphenicol is used mostly locally. In case of eye infection it is applied in acute cases every one to two hours (in the form of eye drops), in skin infections typically one to three times a day (for example, as a cream). The duration of treatment depends on the severity of the infection. After the type infection has subsided, the therapy in lower Chloramphenicol dosage should be continued for approximately two to three days in order to prevent resistance emergence.

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Especially abroad Chloramphenicol is administered even as an injection by doctors, particularly for very serious infections.

What are the side effects of Chloramphenicol?

For local application of Chloramphenicol in general hardly occur side effects since there is little drug enters the blood. Especially when oral ingestion or injection often occurs on the other hand (ie one out of ten to a hundred patients treated) side effects in the gastrointestinal tract as and diarrhea. In one of a thousand to one in ten thousand patients solves the treatment allergic reactions, hypersensitivity reactions, an increase in liver enzyme values ​​and liver damage from.

As most severe and potentially life-threatening Chloramphenicol side effect of a more than ten thousand patients treated the so-called “aplastic anemia” in – regardless of the dose and partially until weeks or months after treatment. Here, the bone marrow is damaged, so there hardly blood cells are produced. This leads to extreme fatigue, bleeding and possibly other severe infections.

What should I watch for while taking Chloramphenicol?

The drug Chloramphenicol, once he gets into the blood, metabolised in the liver, what enzymes are involved which degrade many other active ingredients. With simultaneous application whose degradation can be inhibited, whereby these can then be present in too high, sometimes toxic levels in the body. Affected by these possible interactions are, for example, some antidepressants, anticonvulsant (antiepileptic), anticoagulant agent for inhibiting gastric acid production, calcium channel blockers (in), sedatives, antifungal, antibiotics, cholesterol-lowering and anti-irregular heart rhythm. Before initiation of therapy with Chloramphenicol patients should tell the doctor taking other medications.

Chloramphenicol should not’ll coadministered with drugs that also have a negative effect on the bone marrow and blood formation. Examples would be sulfonamides (antibiotics), phenylbutazone (remedy for rheumatism, pain reliever) and Phenytoin (against drug seizures, antiepileptic).

Chloramphenicol is good tissue and placenta and is excreted into breast milk, so pregnant and nursing mothers should not be treated with the antibiotic. The same applies to infants less than three months, as these Chloramphenicol can not metabolize in the liver. It accumulates in the children, which they get a characteristic gray skin color (“gray-baby-syndrome”). Without prompt treatment, this can be fatal.

Even with severe liver and kidney dysfunction Chloramphenicol should not be used.

How to get Chloramphenicol

preparations with Chloramphenicol, which are also often made directly in Germany in pharmacies as a recipe, are a prescription and thus available only by a doctor.

Since when Chloramphenicol is known?

The antibiotic Chloramphenicol in 1947 discovered by Professor of Plant Pathology David Gottlieb and recovered from the bacteria Streptomyces venezuelae. As early as 1949 it was introduced in the US in everyday clinical practice. Because of its comparatively simple chemical structure, the antibiotic was produced early completely chemically. Chloramphenicol has also been taken up by the World Health Organization (WHO) list of essential medicines in the, which is intended to cover the basic medical needs of a society.

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