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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2003 May;51 Suppl 1:1-11.

Development of the quinolones.

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Bristol Centre for Antimicrobial Research and Evaluation, North Bristol NHS Trust and University of Bristol, Department of Medical Microbiology, Southmead Hospital, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol BS10 5NB, UK.


Since their discovery in the early 1960s, the quinolone group of antibacterials has generated considerable clinical and scientific interest. Nalidixic acid, the first quinolone to be developed, was obtained as an impurity during the manufacture of quinine. Since this time, many derivatives have been synthesized and evaluated for their antibacterial potency. Two major groups of compounds have been developed from the basic molecule: quinolones and naphthyridones. Manipulations of the basic molecule, including replacing hydrogen with fluorine at position 6, substituting a diamine residue at position 7 and adding new residues at position 1 of the quinolone ring, have led to enhanced antibacterial efficacy. In general these compounds are well tolerated. However, some of these structural changes have been found to correlate with specific adverse events: the addition of fluorine or chlorine at position 8 being associated with photo-reactivity, e.g. Bay y 3118 and sparfloxacin; and the substitution of an amine or a methyl group at position 5 having a potential role in QTc prolongation, e.g. sparfloxacin and grepafloxacin. Progressive modifications in molecular configuration have resulted in improved breadth and potency of in vitro activity and pharmacokinetics. One of the most significant developments has been the improved anti-Gram-positive activity of the newer compounds, such as moxifloxacin and garenoxacin. In the current millennium, these new agents may play an important role in the treatment of respiratory infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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