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Curr Drug Metab. 2014;15(6):581-98.

A 30-years review on pharmacokinetics of antibiotics: is the right time for pharmacogenetics?

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Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Infectious Diseases at Amedeo di Savoia Hospital, Corso Svizzera 164, 10149. Turin, Italy.


Drug bioavailability may vary greatly amongst individuals, affecting both efficacy and toxicity: in humans, genetic variations account for a relevant proportion of such variability. In the last decade the use of pharmacogenetics in clinical practice, as a tool to individualize treatment, has shown a different degree of diffusion in various clinical fields. In the field of infectious diseases, several studies identified a great number of associations between host genetic polymorphisms and responses to antiretroviral therapy. For example, in patients treated with abacavir the screening for HLA-B*5701 before starting treatment is routine clinical practice and standard of care for all patients; efavirenz plasma levels are influenced by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) CYP2B6-516G>T (rs3745274). Regarding antibiotics, many studies investigated drug transporters involved in antibiotic bioavailability, especially for fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, and antituberculars. To date, few data are available about pharmacogenetics of recently developed antibiotics such as tigecycline, daptomycin or linezolid. Considering the effect of SNPs in gene coding for proteins involved in antibiotics bioavailability, few data have been published. Increasing knowledge in the field of antibiotic pharmacogenetics could be useful to explain the high drug inter-patients variability and to individualize therapy. In this paper we reported an overview of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacogenetics of antibiotics to underline the importance of an integrated approach in choosing the right dosage in clinical practice.

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