|CHLORAMPHENICOL SODIUM SUCCINATE® FDA Package Insert|
|Indications and Usage|
|Warnings and Precautions|
|Dosage and Administration|
|Labels and Packages|
It was the first antibiotic to be manufactured synthetically on a large scale. Chloramphenicol is effective against a wide variety of microorganisms; it is still very widely used in low income countries because it is exceedingly cheap, but has fallen out of favour in the West due to a very rare but very serious side effect: aplastic anemia.
Thiamphenicol is a related compound with a similar spectrum of activity that is available in Italy and China for human use, and has never been associated with aplastic anaemia. Thiamphenicol is available in the U.S. and Europe as a veterinary antibiotic, and is not approved for use in humans.
Mechanism and resistance
Chloramphenicol is bacteriostatic (that is, it stops bacterial growth). It functions by inhibiting peptidyl transferase, preventing peptide bond formation. While chloramphenicol and the macrolide class of antibiotics both interact with the 50S ribosomal subunit, chloramphenicol is not a macrolide. Furthermore, their mechanisms are slightly different. While chloramphenicol directly interferes with substrate binding, macrolides sterically block the progression of the growing peptide.
There are three mechanisms of resistance to chloramphenicol: reduced membrane permeability, mutation of the 50S ribosomal subunit and elaboration of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase. It is easy to select for reduced membrane permability to chloramphenicol in vitro by serial passage of bacteria, and this is the most common mechanism of low-level chloramphenicol resistance. High level resistance is conferred by the cat-gene; this gene codes for an enzyme called chloramphenicol acetyltransferase which inactivates chloramphenicol by covalently linking one or two acetyl groups, derived from acetyl-S-coenzyme A, to the hydroxyl groups on the chloramphenicol molecule. The acetylation prevents chloramphenicol from binding to the ribosome. Resistance-conferring mutations of the 50S ribosomal subunit are rare.
Chloramphenicol resistance may be carried on a plasmid that also codes for resistance to other drugs. One example is the ACCoT plasmid (A=ampicillin, C=chloramphenicol, Co=co-trimoxazole, T=tetracycline) which mediates multi-drug resistance in typhoid (also called R factors).
US Brand Names
FDA Package Insert