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Curr Pharm Des. 2004;10(26):3213-20.

Fluoroquinolones as chemotherapeutics against mycobacterial infections.

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Department of Pathology, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


The antimicrobial agents used in the treatment of mycobacterial infections have remained largely unchanged for several decades. Primary treatment of tuberculosis relies on four drugs, isoniazid, a rifamycin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol (or streptomycin), and generally results in >95% cure in uncomplicated tuberculosis infection. Drug resistance greatly complicates treatment of this disease. Treatment of tuberculosis caused by multiply drug-resistant strains with "second-line" drugs remains complex, and is generally tailored to the individual patient and strain. Several of the fluoroquinolones have shown promise as second line drugs for treatment of active disease and, in combination with clarithromycin or azithromycin, ethambutol, and other agents, for treatment of Mycobacterium avium complex infection. While large clinical trials are not possible with second line drugs, clinical treatment data are available and suggest that the quinolones have various degrees of promise in treatment of these infections. Bacterial type II DNA topoisomerases, DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV, are the targets of quinolones, and provide the genetic basis for quinolone activity in mycobacteria. Mutations in these enzymes results in resistance, and characterization of resistant mutants allows correlation of genotype with susceptibility phenotype. Structure-activity relationship studies have provided further insight into optimal use of quinolones in mycobacterial infections. Care should be taken in treating pneumonia with fluoroquinolones if there is a degree of suspicion of tuberculosis, since quinolone monotherapy may rapidly select for quinolone resistance, thereby removing that class of antibiotic from the small range of treatment options.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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