What Are Aminoglycosides? Side Effects, Precautions & Interactions
Do you know that some antibiotics have a reputation for being more dangerous than others? Aminoglycosides are among the riskier ones. But, it's not because they are especially toxic. It's just because their side effects are particularly serious and can be permanent. The danger with aminoglycosides is mostly in their usage as a first-line therapy rather than as an alternative in case of resistance to other drugs.
If used properly, aminoglycosides are safe and effective medicines with little risk of side effects. This article explains what you need to know about aminoglycosides and why they should be used with care.
What are Aminoglycosides?
Aminoglycosides are a class of antibiotics. They work by killing bacteria. Sometimes, they are also called aminocyclitol antibiotics. They have a reputation for being among the riskier antibiotics. But that's not because they are especially toxic. It's just because their side effects are particularly serious and can be permanent.
Aminoglycosides are used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. Examples include infections of the lungs (pneumonia), kidneys, urinary tract, ears, and skin. They are also used to prevent infections after certain surgeries.
Aminoglycosides have several advantages: They can be used to treat various infections and are effective against many types of bacteria. They are also less expensive than other antibiotics.
Aminoglycosides have several disadvantages: They can cause serious side effects in many patients. These side effects include hearing loss, nausea, and kidney damage.
Why are Aminoglycosides So Dangerous?
The danger with aminoglycosides is mostly in their usage as a first-line therapy rather than as an alternative in case of resistance to other drugs. If used properly, though, aminoglycosides are safe and effective medicines with little risk of side effects. Aminoglycosides are dangerous because they are toxic to both bacteria and human cells. This means that they are much more likely to cause damage to your own body and the bacteria you want them to kill.
A major reason why aminoglycosides are so toxic is that the body absorbs them through the gastrointestinal tract. This allows them to reach the bloodstream and the rest of the body very quickly. Since the drug is present in the whole body, it affects areas it wasn't meant to affect. Since aminoglycosides are toxic to bacteria and human cells, the dosage must be carefully calculated to avoid damaging too many healthy cells.
Side Effects of Aminoglycosides
1. Hearing Loss
The most common side effect of aminoglycosides hears loss. This happens in about 1 out of every 10 patients. The risk of hearing loss is greater during the first few weeks of treatment. It gradually decreases after that. In most cases, the hearing loss is partial and temporary. But, in rare cases, the hearing loss can be permanent.
2. Nausea and Stomach Cramps
Taking aminoglycosides with food can cause nausea and stomach cramps. This side effect is caused by taking aminoglycosides with food. Taking aminoglycosides on an empty stomach can cause nausea and vomiting.
3. Risk of Tendon Damage
Many patients taking aminoglycosides experience pain and swelling in the wrist and fingers. Most patients recover after they stop the drug. However, in some patients, the damage can be severe enough to require surgery.
How do Aminoglycosides Work?
Aminoglycosides work by killing bacteria. They have a very strong effect on Gram-negative bacteria. But, they have a weaker effect on Gram-positive bacteria. As a result, aminoglycosides are not very useful for treating infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria. When you take aminoglycosides, they enter your bloodstream.
They go to your kidneys and reside in the proximal tubules. These tiny canals move urine from the kidneys to the ureters. The aminoglycosides then block the bacteria's ability to make proteins essential for survival. As a result, bacteria die.
Conclusion: Classification of Aminoglycosides
Aminoglycosides have been used as antibiotics since the 1950s, but they have been used in humans for much longer. Humans have been using the herb gentian as an antibiotic for centuries, and it was discovered that the active ingredient in gentian that kills bacteria is an aminoglycoside. They are very effective against Gram-negative bacteria, which are the most dangerous type of bacteria. Aminoglycosides are generally given intravenously, but they can also be given orally if they are specially modified to be absorbed through the gut.
They are most frequently used to treat urinary tract infections, the bloodstream, heart, and bones. They are also used to prevent infections in people who have had surgery on the abdomen, bladder, or heart. Aminoglycosides can be used either alone or in combination with other antibiotics. One of the biggest risks with aminoglycosides is hearing loss, and several things can help prevent it.