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Penicillin, antistaphylococcal penicillins, and broad-spectrum penicillins

Author
Stephen B Calderwood, MD
Section Editor
David C Hooper, MD
Deputy Editor
Allyson Bloom, MD

INTRODUCTION

Beta-lactam antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs, grouped together based upon a shared structural feature, the beta-lactam ring. The classification, spectrum of activity and pharmacology of one group of beta-lactam antibiotics, the penicillins, will be reviewed here. The mechanisms of action and resistance and major adverse reactions of the beta-lactam antibiotics are discussed separately. (See "Beta-lactam antibiotics: Mechanisms of action and resistance and adverse effects".) The cephalosporins and other beta-lactam drugs are also discussed separately. (See "Cephalosporins" and "Combination beta-lactamase inhibitors, carbapenems, and monobactams".)

CLASSIFICATION

Penicillins can be classified into the following categories:

Penicillin G

Antistaphylococcal penicillins (nafcillin, oxacillin, cloxacillin and dicloxacillin)

Broad spectrum penicillins: second generation (ampicillin, amoxicillin and related agents), third generation (carbenicillin and ticarcillin) and fourth generation (piperacillin)

            

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Wed May 27 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2015.
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