What is penicillin

Medicine has known what is penicillin since the beginning of the XX century. This antibiotic was derived by British bacteriologist Alexander Fleming for the first time, in 1928. Later, in 1957, a full synthesis of this substance was made from Penicillium and Cephalosporium molds.

Penicillin is used for treating bacterial infections, such as syphilis, diphtheria, actinomycosis, anthrax, leptospirosis. These diseases are caused by different Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria: Clostridium, Escherichia coli, gonococcus, salmonella, and many others. Medics did not have any effective drug for treatment of these diseases till the XX century.

Since penicillin was discovered, many other types of antimicrobial drugs related to the penicillin group were found and synthesized included.

What is penicillin group?

Medications in the penicillin group are drugs derived from fungi. Medications of the penicillin group are classified by their synthesis method to natural and semisynthetic.

The natural antibiotics of this group include benzylpenicillin and phenoxymethylpenicillin, made of green mold colonies. Substances derived by compound of natural antibiotics with some chemical elements are related to semisynthetic penicillins.

What is penicillin G?

An antibacterial substance, first discovered by Fleming, became known as penicillin G (alternative name: benzylpenicillin). A pharmacological property of the natural antibiotic is the broken synthesis of the bacteria cell wall, followed by broken structure, thus bacteria are destroyed.

One of penicillin G features is that it can be used only intramuscularly. This natural antibiotic is highly sensitive to an acidic environment. Therefore, after ingestion, penicillin G is destroyed by gastric juice in the stomach and does not provide the expected therapeutic effect.

What is penicillin VK?

This is the second natural antibiotic from the penicillin group, otherwise known as phenoxymethylpenicillin. It differs from penicillin G by that it can be used orally.

Penicillin VK is typically was manufactured as a pill, elixir or suspension of potassium salt. There are many semisynthetic penicillins. They differ by administration mode, resistance to an acid medium, effects on different types of bacteria. This type of antibiotics includes:

  • Nafcillin
  • Ampicillin
  • Amoxicillin

Semisynthetic penicillins are characterized by high therapeutic activity against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Semisynthetic penicillins differ from natural antibiotics that pathogenic bacteria show less resistancy to their antibacterial properties.

What is penicillin resistance?

If a bacterial infection can not be cured with penicillin, bacteria that caused the infection has natural or acquired resistance to the penicillin effects.

The bacterium can generate resistance to the penicillin effect for several years and even decades. Therefore, the list of bacteria with penicillin resistance is periodically updated with new types of pathogens.

Penicillin does not provide toxic effect on the human body. However, some people may be individually hypersensitive to the drug.

What is penicillin allergy?

If an allergic reaction appears after penicillin antibiotics, the use of this type of antibiotics should be stopped. The most common symptoms of penicillin allergy include hives, swelling, or itching.

If penicillin allergy symptoms seem to be serious, the patient may require hospitalization. Some allergy symptoms are very similar to undesirable reactions, caused by penicillin.

What are penicillin side effects?

In addition to the antibacterial effect, penicillin may cause adverse reactions, including difficulty in breathing, rash, vomiting, nausea or diarrhoea.

To be sure that these adverse events are not symptoms of allergy to penicillin or not caused by another drug, the patient may need to pass a test for hypersensitivity to this antibiotic.

Also unwanted effects can be caused by penicillin overdose.