GENERIC NAME: penicillin V
BRAND NAME: Veetids
DISCONTINUED BRAND: Pen-Vee-K is no longer available in the U.S.
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Penicillin V is an oral form of the antibiotic, penicillin, which is used to treat bacterial infections. In 1928, Alexander Fleming noted that mold belonging to the genus Penicillium inhibited the growth of bacteria. Fleming called this unknown antibacterial substance penicillin. Ten years later, a group at Oxford University began to investigate penicillin in laboratory mice. Penicillin was hailed as a miracle drug and saved countless lives in World War II.
Today, many derivatives of penicillin have been developed which inhibit more types of bacteria than the original, life-saving drug. Penicillin stops bacteria from multiplying by preventing bacteria from forming the walls that surround them. The walls are necessary to protect bacteria from their environment and to keep the contents of the bacterial cell together. Bacteria cannot survive without a cell wall. Penicillin is most effective when bacteria are actively multiplying and forming cell walls. Penicillin itself is active against Streptococci (including Streptococcus pneumoniae), Listeria, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Clostridium, Peptococcus, and Peptostreptococcus. Most staphylococci now are resistant to penicillin.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Penicillin V is effective for treatment of laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, and soft tissue and skin infections caused by susceptible bacteria. It also is used for preventing recurrence of rheumatic fever and chorea (a disorder of uncontrolled movement of the body). Only mild to moderate infections are treated with oral penicillin V. Patients with more severe infections are given penicillin by injection.
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