Chemical Structures and Classification of Antimicrobial Drugs
Pp. 214-281 (68)
F. Zehra Küçükbay and Hasan Küçükbay
This chapter aims to review the literature on anti-infective (also known as
antimicrobial) drugs among the anti-infections drugs, and to highlight recent developments
relating to novel antibiotics and their classification. Antibiotic classification is
determined according to their structure and mechanism of action; the main groups
include β-lactams, macrolides, fluoroquinolones, tetracyclines, and aminoglycosides.
Despite significant progress in anti-infective therapies, infectious diseases caused by
bacteria and fungi remain a major worldwide health problem due to the rapid
development of resistance to existing drugs. This resistance increasingly limits the
effectiveness of current anti-infective drugs. To overcome this problem, scientists are
searching for novel therapeutic agents that are efficacious against microorganisms and
cause limited side-effects. Naturally occuring compounds in plants have previously
been used successfully to treat many types of infection and illness. For this reason, it is
quite important to understand the chemical composition of natural products and their
mechanisms of action, in order to synthesize semi-synthetic or synthetic anti-infective
drugs. Indeed, many chemically synthesized drugs originated from natural sources, e.g.
aspirin (willow plant), opioids such as morphine (opium poppy), atropine (Atropa
belladonna), and quinine (cinchona). Therefore, nature is a very fruitful source for
pharmacy, medicine, biology and chemistry students.
Anti-bacterial drugs, Aminoglycosides, Anti-fungal drugs, Antiinfective
agents, Antibiotic, Cephalosporins, Chloramphenicol, Classification of
antibiotics, Drug research, Drug resistance, Fluoroquinolones, Infectious diseases,
Macrolides, Microorganisms, Natural products, Penicillin, Penicillium species,
Synthesis, Tetracyclines, β-lactams.
Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, İnönü University, 44280 Malatya, Turkey.