The beta lactams are one of the major families of antibiotics. They contain several subfamilies such as the penicillins, penicillins with beta lactamase inhibitor and cephalosporins. These treatments are used particularly for infections due to Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella and E. coli.
How do the beta lactams work?
These antibiotics bind to enzymes involved in the control of bacterial cell wall synthesis. The beta lactams therefore prevent the development of the bacteria. Because their action kills the bacteria, they are bactericides.
Do they have contraindications or precautions?
These antibiotics can cause hypersensitivity, occasionally causing attacks of urticaria and, even more rarely, anaphylactic shock. Drinking alcohol is not recommended during treatment because of the risk of nausea and vomiting. A neurotoxic effect which produces seizures, may also occur when high doses of penicillin are given. The risk of this is increased in the case of renal impairment.
- Merck Manual, 4th edition ;
The penicillins belong to the beta lactam family. © Phovoir