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Res Vet Sci. 1999 Jun;66(3):197-203.

Macrolide antibiotics, drug interactions and microsomal enzymes: implications for veterinary medicine.

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Department of Toxicology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, 28040, Spain.


The macrolide group of antibiotics includes natural members, pro-drugs and semi-synthetic derivatives, thus named because they are composed of a large aglycone ring (from 14 to 16 carbon atoms), to which are attached several sugars. Some of them are amino-sugars, containing a diethylamino, tertiary amine function. A number of antibiotics, including erythromycin, oleandomycin, triacetyl-oleandomycin (troleandomycin), carbomycin, spiramycin, tylosin, rosamicin, azithromycin, clarithromycin, dirithromycin and others, are members of this group. On a comparative basis, erythromycin and oleandomycin are similar, with the same basic 14-carbon lactone ring and side chain sugars. The remaining compounds contain a basic 15- or 16-carbon lactone ring and one or two side-chain sugars. Most of the macrolides are produced by Streptomyces spp bacteria. An exception is rosamicin, which is produced by Micromonospora. Clarithromycin and azithromycin are new semi-synthetic derivatives of erythromycin.

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