New Antibiotic Fights Respiratory Infections

Leaves other bacteria alone

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FRIDAY, April 02, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- As more drugs become resistant to germs that cause respiratory tract infections (RTIs), the world's drugmakers must find new ways to treat these all-too-common conditions, including chronic bronchitis, bacterial sinusitis, and community-acquired pneumonia.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave the effort a boost April 1 when it approved Ketek (telithromycin), the first in a new class of antibiotics known as ketolides, which are designed specifically to treat these kinds of stubborn respiratory problems.

Ketek targets the airway germs without significantly affecting bacteria that don't cause the RTIs, manufacturer Aventis Pharmaceuticals said in a prepared statement. This may be an important factor in minimizing development of drug-resistant germs, the statement added.

More than 7 million prescriptions for the drug have been written since it was first approved in Europe in 2001, the company said. Common side effects include nausea, headache, dizziness, and diarrhea.

To learn more about respiratory diseases, visit the National Library of Medicine.

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