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The Fluoroquinolones

      The fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics promises to become as diverse and as important as β-lactam agents. The fluoroquinolones inhibit bacterial DNA gyrase and are bactericidal. All fluoroquinolones have potent activity against most gram-negative bacteria; ciprofloxacin is the most active against Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Activity against gram-positive organisms is variable; methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus has acquired resistance to the fluoroquinolones at an alarming rate. Currently available quinolones do not have, but new quinolone agents likely will have, substantial activity against anaerobic bacteria. Some quinolones are also active against Mycobacterium, Chlamydia, and Mycoplasma organisms. All fluoroquinolones have excellent absorption after oral administration; however, this process can be impaired by the presence of aluminum- or magnesium-containing antacids and by zinc, iron, or calcium supplements. Ciprofloxacin is also available for intravenous use. Although most fluoroquinolones do not achieve adequate cerebrospinal fluid levels, penetration into other tissues is excellent. Dosage adjustments for renal and hepatic dysfunction vary among the quinolones. Although side effects are rare, concomitant use of caffeine or theophylline with some quinolones may cause toxicity to the central nervous system. Because they may affect the development of cartilage, all fluoroquinolones are contraindicated in children, adolescents, and pregnant or breast-feeding women.
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