List of Antibiotics and Their Adverse Effects

Antibiotics are used to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Antibiotics are powerful medicines that fight bacterial infections. Used properly, antibiotics can save lives. They either kill bacteria or keep them from reproducing. Your body’s natural defenses can usually take it from there.

Antibiotics Include medication classifications of aminoglycosides, cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, macrolides, lincosamides, monobactams, penicillins and penicillinase-resistant penicillins, sulfonamides, tetracyclines, antimycobacterials, and others.



The first antibiotic, penicillin, which was first discovered and reported in 1929 by Alexander Fleming was later found to be among several other antibiotic compounds called the penicillins. (McGeer et al., 2001). Penicillins produced by certain bacterial strains as well as facilitating the movement of antibiotics across the outer membrane of such bacterial cell walls. This double-pronged capability increases their spectrum of activity against Gram-negative bacteria.

In particular, some penicillins such as Augmentin are produced in combination with non-antibiotic compound that are able to inhibit the activity of bacterial penicillinase enzyme. Augmentin is actually a drug comprising amoxicillin (antibiotic) and clavulanic acid a non-antibiotic compound. Clavulanic acid is able to inhibit beta-lactamase enzyme thereby prolonging the antibacterial activity of the amoxicillin component of Augmentin even amongst penicillinase producing bacteria.


Tetracyclines are broad-spectrum against many bacteria and treat conditions such as acne, urinary tract infections (UTIs), intestinal tract infections, eye infections, sexually transmitted diseases, periodontitis (gum disease), and other bacterial infections. The tetracycline class contains well-known drugs such as:



There are five generations of cephalosporins, with increasing expanded coverage to include gram-negative infections. Cephalosporins treat many infections, including strep throat, ear infections, urinary tract infections, skin infections, and meningitis. The fifth generation cephalosporin ceftaroline (Teflaro) is active against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). You’ve probably heard of common medications in this class, like:

cefuroxime (Ceftin)
ceftriaxone (Rocephin)
Cefdinir (Omnicef)



The quinolones, also known as the fluoroquinolones, are a synthetic, bactericidal antibacterial class with a broad-spectrum of activity. The quinolones can be used for difficult-to-treat urinary tract infections when other options are aren’t effective, hospital-acquired pneumonia, bacterial prostatitis, and even anthrax or plague. The FDA issued a strong warning about this class in 2016. Familiar names in the fluoroquinolone class include:

ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
levofloxacin (Levaquin)
moxifloxacin (Avelox)


This class has activity against gram-positive aerobes and anaerobes (bacteria that can live without oxygen), as well as some gram-negative anaerobes. The lincomycin derivatives may be used to treat serious infections like pelvic inflammatory disease, intra-abdominal infections, lower respiratory tract infections, and bone and joint infections. These drugs include:

clindamycin (Cleocin)
lincomycin (Lincocin)


The macrolides can be use to treat community-acquired pneumonia, pertussis (whooping cough), or for uncomplicated skin infections, among other susceptible infections. Ketolides are a newer generation of antibiotic developed to overcome macrolide bacterial resistance. Frequently prescribed macrolides are:

azithromycin (Zithromax)
clarithromycin (Biaxin)


Sulfonamides are effective against some gram-positive and many gram-negative bacteria, but resistance is widespread. Common uses for sulfonamides include UTIs, treatment or prevention of pneumocystis pneumonia, or ear infections (otitis media). Familiar names include:

sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (Bactrim, Bactrim DS, Septra)
sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
sulfisoxazole (combined with erythromycin)

Glycopeptide Antibiotics:

Members of this group may be used for treating methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, complicated skin infections, C. difficile-associated diarrhea, and enterococcal infections such as endocarditis which are resistant to beta-lactams and other antibiotics. Common drug names include:

dalbavancin (Dalvance)
oritavancin (Orbactiv)
telavancin (Vibativ)
vancomycin (Vancocin)


Aminoglycosides inhibit bacterial synthesis by binding to the 30S ribosome and act rapidly as bactericidal antibiotics (killing the bacteria). These drugs are usually given intravenously (in a vein through a needle). Common examples in this class are:



These injectable beta-lactam antibiotics have a wide spectrum of bacteria-killing power and may be used for moderate to life-threatening bacterial infections like stomach infections, pneumonias, kidney infections, multidrug-resistant hospital-acquired infections and many other types of serious bacterial illnesses. Members of this class include:

imipenem/cilastatin (Primaxin)
meropenem (Merrem)
doripenem (Doribax)
ertapenem (Inanz)

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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