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Pharmacotherapy. 2018 Sep;38(9):935-946. doi: 10.1002/phar.2166. Epub 2018 Aug 20.

Lefamulin: Review of a Promising Novel Pleuromutilin Antibiotic.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Translational Science, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Knoxville, Tennessee.
Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi.


The emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance have led to a global public health emergency requiring development of new antimicrobial classes. Lefamulin (formally BC-3781) is a novel pleuromutilin antibiotic currently undergoing Food and Drug Administration review for community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP) as intravenous (IV) and oral (PO) formulations. Although pleuromutilin antibiotics were first developed in the 1950s, lefamulin is the first to be used for systemic treatment of bacterial infections in humans. Lefamulin exhibits a unique mechanism of action through inhibition of protein synthesis by binding to the peptidyl transferase center of the 50S bacterial ribosome, thus preventing the binding of transfer RNA for peptide transfer. Lefamulin displays activity against gram-positive and atypical organisms associated with CABP (i.e., Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila, and Chlamydophila pneumoniae), with an expanded gram-positive spectrum including Staphylococcus aureus (i.e., methicillin-resistant, vancomycin-intermediate, and heterogeneous strains) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium. Lefamulin was also shown to retain activity against multidrug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Mycoplasma genitalium. Lefamulin exhibits time-dependent killing, and the pharmacodynamic target best associated with antibacterial activity is ƒAUC0-24 /MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration [MIC]). Preclinical and phase II trials indicate that lefamulin concentrates in lung tissue are well tolerated at an IV dose of 150 mg twice/day over 1 hour or a PO dose of 600 mg twice/day, and preliminary phase III data suggest similar efficacy when compared with moxifloxacin with or without linezolid in CABP. Documented resistance and cross-resistance with other gram-positive antibacterials remains low. Additional published in vitro, in vivo, and preclinical trial data suggest further exploration of lefamulin in various infectious disease states (e.g., acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections, and sexually transmitted infections). This review discusses the pertinent bacterial spectrum of activity, preclinical and ongoing clinical data, and potential roles in therapy for lefamulin.


drug-resistant gram-positive cocci; gram-positive; lefamulin; pleuromutilin

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