Chloramphenicol (Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues, Revised Edition)
Chloramphenicol (CHPC) is known by many other names, including the trade name Chloromycetin. CHPC is an effective antibiotic, particularly in those cases that require penetration through purulent material (which either contains or discharges pus) to reach the infecting bacteria, as occurs in infections of pneumonia. It is also a good choice for otherwise intractable infections involving the eye, the nervous system, and the prostate gland. The more efficient penetration of CHPC into cells compared to other antibiotics increases its advantage in killing intracellular parasites, such as chlamydia, mycoplasma, and rickettsia.
The high acidity of CHPC is believed to contribute to its ability to penetrate necrotic material and cellular membranes. It kills bacteria by interfering with the protein-manufacturing systems occurring in the ribosomes of organisms. The mode of attack is unique in that reptilian, mammalian, and avian ribosomes are unaffected. In addition, the antibiotic does not destroy all the bacteria in infected tissue. Only highly susceptible bacteria are destroyed, with the remainder merely being inhibited from reproducing. This is an advantage because the inactive residual bacteria allow B cells in the immune system to develop an immune response to the bacteria. The result is akin to the use of inactive bacterial vaccinations in fighting disease.
Discovered in 1947, CHPC was released for public use in 1949. In 1959...
(The entire section is 708 words.)
Further Reading (Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues, Revised Edition)
Forrest, Graeme N., and David W. Oldach. “Chloramphenicol.” In Infectious Diseases, edited by Sherwood L. Gorbach, John G. Bartlett, and Neil R. Blacklow. 3d ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004.
Hilts, Philip J. “New Drugs, New Problems.” In Protecting America’s Health: The FDA, Business, and One Hundred Years of Regulation. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.
(The entire section is 56 words.)