- What Kind of Doctor Do I Need? Slideshow
- Dental (Oral) Health Quiz
- Causes of a Heart Attack Slideshow
Who discovered penicillin?
Who discovered penicillin?
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.
What are penicillin antibiotics?
Penicillins are antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections that are derived from the antibiotic penicillin.
What are the uses for penicillin antibiotics?
Today, many derivatives of penicillin have been developed that inhibit more types of bacteria than the original life-saving drug. Penicillin itself is active against
- streptococci (including Streptococcus pneumoniae),
- Listeria, Neisseria gonorrhoeae,
- Peptococcus, and
However, most staphylococci now are resistant to penicillin.
Other penicillin antibiotics are effective against
- H. influenzae,
- E. coli, pneumococci,
- certain strains of staphylococci,
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and
- many other types of bacteria.
Penicillin antibiotics are used to treat many types of infections caused by susceptible bacteria. They are used to treat infections of the middle ear, sinuses, stomach and intestines, bladder, and kidney. They also are used for treating
- blood infections (sepsis),
- uncomplicated gonorrhea,
- endocarditis, and
- other serious infections.
What are examples of penicillin antibiotics available in the US?
- penicillin V
- penicillin G (Pfizerpen, Permapen)
- amoxicillin (Amoxil)
- amoxicillin/clavulonate (Augmentin)
- ampicillin (Unasyn)
- nafcillin (Nallpen)
- oxacillin (Bactocill)
- dicloxacillin (Dycill, Dynapen are discontinued brands in the US; generic is available)
- cloxacillin (discontinued in the US)
- piperacillin (Pipracil)
- piperacillin/tazobactam (Zosyn)
- ticarcillin (Ticar) (Discontinued in the US; ; generic is not available))
- ticarcillin/clavulonate (Timentin) (Discontinued in the US and a generic is not available.)
What are the side effects of penicillin antibiotics?
Side effects of penicillin antibiotics include
- abdominal pain,
- easy bruising,
- rash, and
- allergic reactions.
Individuals who are allergic to the cephalosporin class of antibiotics, which are related to the penicillins, for example, cefaclor (Ceclor), cephalexin (Keflex), and cefprozil (Cefzil), may or may not be allergic to penicillins.
Serious but rare reactions include
- kidney problems,
- oral fungal infections,
- severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), and
- low blood platelet levels (thrombocytopenia) or red blood cell count.
Like other antibiotics, penicillin antibiotics can alter the normal bacteria in the colon and encourage overgrowth of some bacteria such as Clostridium difficile, which causes inflammation of the colon (C. difficile colitis or pseudomembranous colitis).
Signs and symptoms of C. difficile colitis include
What drugs interact with penicillin antibiotics?
Penicillin antibiotics have few important drug interactions.
- Probenecid (Benemid) causes an increase in the amount of penicillins in the body by preventing excretion of penicillin by the kidneys.
- Combining ampicillin with allopurinol (Zyloprim) can increase the incidence of drug-related skin rash.
- Penicillin antibiotics may reduce the effect of BCG live vaccine and typhoid live vaccine.
What formulations of penicillin antibiotics are available?
Penicillin antibiotics are available as
- powder for oral suspension, and
- powder for injection.
Are penicillin antibiotics safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
- Penicillin antibiotics are considered safe to use during pregnancy.
- Although small amounts of penicillins pass into breast milk they are considered safe to use while breastfeeding.
How do penicillin antibiotics work?
Penicillin antibiotics stop bacteria from multiplying by preventing bacteria from forming the walls that surround them. The walls are necessary to protect the bacteria from their environment, and to keep the contents of the bacterial cell together. Bacteria cannot survive without a cell wall. Penicillin antibiotics are most effective when bacteria are actively multiplying and forming cell walls.
REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information
Penicillin antibiotics are prescribed to treat a variety of types of infections. For example,
- middle ear and sinus infections;
- bladder, stomach, intestines, and kidney;
- endocarditis; and
- many other serious infections.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Bladder Infections: UTI Causes, Symptoms, Treatments
Urinary tract infections (UTI), including bladder infections, affect women and men, causing UTI symptoms like kidney infection....
What Is a Staph Infection? Symptoms, Pictures
Do you know what a staph infection is? Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of staph infections (Staphylococcus...
Bacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments
Learn more about bacteria and the most common bacterial infections. Get more information on bacterial skin infections, which...
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Symptoms, Diagnosis, Medication
Understand urinary tract infection (UTI) through pictures. Our experts describe urinary tract infection symptoms like pelvic...
Ear Infection Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Learn about the causes and symptoms of ear infections and how they are diagnosed and treated. Read about treatments such as ear...
Ear Infection Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Is it possible to prevent ear infections? Take the Ear Infection (Otitis Media) Quiz to learn the risks, causes, symptoms and...
Strep (Streptococcal) Throat Infection Quiz: Test Your Infectious Disease IQ
Take the Strep (Streptococcal) Throat Infection Quiz to learn about causes, symptoms, treatments, prevention methods, diagnosis,...
Urinary Tract Infection Quiz
How would you know if you had urinary tract infection (UTI)? Take the Urinary Tract Infection in Adult Quiz to learn the causes,...
Picture of Bacterial Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is redness and inflammation of the membranes (conjuctiva) covering the whites of the eyes and the...
Picture of Strep Throat
Strep infection often produces a distinct pattern of white patches in the throat and on the tonsils, as well as red swollen...
Related Disease Conditions
Cellulitis is an acute spreading bacterial infection below the surface of the skin characterized by redness, warmth,...
Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)
Sinus infection (sinusitis) is caused by allergies, infection, and chemicals or other irritants of sinuses. Signs and symptoms...
Staph Infection (Staphylococcus Aureus)
Staphylococcus or Staph is a group of bacteria that can cause a multitude of diseases. Staph infections can cause illness...
Colitis (Symptoms, Types, and Treatments)
Colitis refers to inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. Symptoms of the inflammation of the colon lining include...
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra. E. coli, a type of bacteria that...
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
An upper respiratory infection is a contagious infection of the structures of the upper respiratory tract, which includes the...
25 Sore Throat Home Remedies
These 25 sore throat natural and home remedies can help soothe throat pain, and heal a sore throat caused by viral (common cold,...
Impetigo is a contagious skin infection caused by staph and strep bacteria. There are two types of impetigo: nonbullous and...
STDs in Men
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria,...
Sore throats are generally described as pain or discomfort in the throat area. A sore throat may be caused by: bacterial...
Infectious mononucleosis is a virus infection in which there is an increase of white blood cells that are mononuclear (with a...
Sepsis (blood poisoning) is a potentially deadly infection with signs and symptoms that include elevated heart rate, low or high...
PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated With Streptococcal Infections)
PANDAS is in part caused by an autoimmune response to a strep infection. Symptoms mimic those of OCD, ADHD, and include motor and...
Group B Strep
Group B strep are bacteria called Streptococcus agalactiae that may sometimes cause infections both in a pregnant woman and her...
Bladder Infection (Cystitis)
Bladder infection is an infection of the bladder, usually caused by bacteria or, rarely, by Candida. Certain people, including...
Urinary Tract Infections in Children
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common in children. Symptoms and signs include fever and abdominal pain. Associated...
Syphilis in Women
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a spiral-shaped type of bacteria known as a spirochete. There are...
Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat. Signs and symptoms of strep throat include headache, nausea,...
Ear Infection (Otitis Media)
Middle ear infection or inflammation (otitis media) is inflammation of the middle ear. There are two forms of this type of ear...
Pericoronitis is inflammation of the gum tissue around the molars. Pericoronitis commonly occurs in teens or young people when...
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women (STD)
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are infections that are transmitted during any type of sexual exposure, including...
Gonorrhea In Women
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection transmitted during sexual contact. In women, symptoms include a yellow vaginal discharge,...
Is Strep Throat Contagious?
Strep throat is caused by group A streptococcus bacterium. Symptoms of strep throat are: sore throat, white patches or...
19 Tips on How to Stop a Cough
Coughing is a reflex that helps a person clear their airways of irritants. There are many causes of an excessive or severe...
Botulism is an illness caused by a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are three types of botulism:...
Clostridium Difficile Colitis (Antibiotic-Associated Colitis, C. difficile colitis)
Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a bacterium, and is one of the most common causes of infection of the colon. C. difficile...
Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina)
Scarlet fever, a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, causes symptoms and signs such as fever, rash with...
Leptospirosis is an infectious disease that causes symptoms such as fever, headache, and chills. Treatment for leptospirosis...
Is a Sinus Infection Contagious?
Sinus infection (sinusitis) is infection (viral, bacterial, or fungal) or inflammation of the sinuses. Symptoms of sinus...
Rheumatic fever is a disease that sometimes occurs after a group A streptococcal infection of the throat. Symptoms and signs...
Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE)
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection is the most common type of infection acquired by patients while hospitalized....
Encephalitis is a brain inflammation that causes sudden fever, vomiting, headache, light sensitivity, stiff neck and back,...
Is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Contagious?
Bacteria such as E. coli or Pseudomonas can cause a urinary tract infection (UTI). The incubation period for a UTI ranges from...
Group A streptococcal infections are caused by group A streptococcus, a bacteria that causes a variety of health problems,...
Is a Staph Infection Contagious?
A staph infection is caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. Staph can cause boils, food poisoning, cellulitis, toxic shock...
Endocarditis, a serious infection of one of the four heart valves is caused by growth of bacteria on one of the heart valves;...
Anthrax is a deadly infectious disease that may be transmitted to humans by infected animals or by biological warfare. There are...
Is Sore Throat (Pharyngitis) Contagious?
The medical term for a sore throat is pharyngitis. There are many causes of a sore throat such as medications, diseases (GERD,...
Diphtheria is a disease that causes symptoms and signs such as fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and swallowing problems. Erythromycin...
Urinary Tract Infection in Adults
Second Source article from Government...
Second Source article from Government...
Group A Streptococcal Infections
Second Source article from Government...
Is Impetigo Contagious?
Impetigo is a contagious bacterial infection that usually occurs in children ages 2-5. There are two types of impetigo: bullous...
Is Sepsis Contagious?
Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening infection that may be caused by: bacteria, fungi, viruses, or parasites....
Bug Bites and Stings
Bug bites and stings have been known to transmit insect-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever,...
Fungal meningitis is a rare disease that is not contagious. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting....
Is Colitis Contagious?
Colitis is a term that us used to describe inflammation of the colon. The terms enteritis, proctitis, and inflammatory bowel...
Is Meningitis Contagious?
Meningitis, inflammation of the meninges, symptoms and signs include neck stiffness, headache, and fever. There are five types of...
Prostatitis vs. BPH (Enlarged Prostate) Differences and Similarities
Prostatitis and BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia, enlarged prostate gland) are both conditions of the prostate gland. There...
Melioidosis (Whitmore's disease) is an infectious disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria. Symptoms include...
NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase) is an enzyme produced by certain strains of bacteria that have recently acquired the...
COPD vs. Emphysema (Differences Similarities)
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the term doctors and other health care professionals use to describe a group of...
Yaws is an infectious disease that mainly occurs in the tropical areas of South and Central America, Asia, Africa, and the...
Antibiotic Resistance (Drug Resistance, Antimicrobial Resistance)
Drug resistance (antimicrobial resistance) is the ability of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses to grow, even in the...
Drug Allergy (Medication Allergy)
Drug or medication allergies are caused when the immune system mistakenly creates an immune response to a medication. Symptoms of...
Tips for Managing Type 1 and 2 Diabetes at Home
Managing your diabetes is a full time commitment. The goal of diabetic therapy is to control blood glucose levels and prevent the...
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Pregnancy (STDs)
When you are pregnant, many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be especially harmful to you and your baby. These STDs...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Urinary Tract Infection FAQs
- Strep Streptococcal Throat Infection FAQs
- Ear Infection FAQs
- Medication Disposal - What to Do with Old or Unusable Medication
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
Medications & Supplements
- amoxicillin (Amoxil, Moxatag, Larotid)
- Augmentin (amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, Augmentin XR, Augmentin ES-600, Amoclan
- piperacillin and tazobactam (Zosyn)
- penicillin V, (Veetids and Pen-Vee-K have been discontinued)
- penicillin G benzathine (Bicillin L-A)
- penicillin g benzathine/penicillin g procaine - injection, Bicillin C-R
- Amoxicillin vs. Levaquin (Strength and Effectiveness)
- penicillin V potassium (Beepen-VK, Penicillin VK, V-Cillin-K)
- penicillin v potassium - oral liquid, Pen-Vee K, Veetids
- Amoxicillin vs. Augmentin (Comparison of Side Effects and Antibiotic Uses)
Prevention & Wellness
Daily Health News
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top penicillins-injection Related ArticlesComplete List
Pink Eye PicturePink eye, or conjunctivitis, is redness and inflammation of the membranes (conjuctiva) covering the whites of the eyes and the membranes on the inner part of the eyelids. See a picture of Pink Eye and learn more about the health topic.
Bacterial Infections 101Learn more about bacteria and the most common bacterial infections. Get more information on bacterial skin infections, which bacteria cause food poisoning, sexually transmitted bacteria, and more.
CellulitisCellulitis is an acute spreading bacterial infection below the surface of the skin characterized by redness, warmth, inflammation, and pain. The most common cause of cellulitis is the bacteria staph (Staphylococcus aureus).
ColitisColitis refers to inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. Symptoms of the inflammation of the colon lining include diarrhea, pain, and blood in the stool. There are several causes of colitis, including infection, ischemia of the colon, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, infectious colitis like C. difficile, or microscopic colitis). Treatment depends on the cause of the colitis.
Ear Infection QuizIs it possible to prevent ear infections? Take the Ear Infection (Otitis Media) Quiz to learn the risks, causes, symptoms and treatments for the common ear infection.
ImpetigoImpetigo is a contagious skin infection caused by staph and strep bacteria. There are two types of impetigo: nonbullous and bullous. Symptoms of nonbullous impetigo include small blisters on the nose, face, arms, or legs and possibly swollen glands. Bullous impetigo signs include blisters in various areas, particularly in the buttocks area. Treatment involves:
- gentle cleansing,
- removing the crusts of popped blisters, and
- the application of prescription-strength mupirocin antibiotic ointment.
SinusitisSinus infection (sinusitis) is caused by allergies, infection, and chemicals or other irritants of sinuses. Signs and symptoms are headache, fever, and facial tenderness, pressure, or pain. Treatments of sinus infections are generally with antibiotics and at times, home remedies.
Sore Throat (Pharyngitis)Sore throats are generally described as pain or discomfort in the throat area. A sore throat may be caused by:
- bacterial infections,
- viral infections,
- trauma, or
- injury to the throat area.
Sore Throat Home Remedies and Treatment
These 25 sore throat natural and home remedies can help soothe throat pain, and heal a sore throat caused by viral (common cold, flu, mumps); bacterial (tonsillitis, some STDs); some toxins; allergens; trauma or injury; or "mechanical causes" (breathing through the mouth). Typical symptoms of a sore throat include throat pain, coughing, sneezing, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Natural and home remedies to soothe sore throat pain include:
- Essential oils
- Licorice gargles
- Slippery elm leaves
- Raw garlic
- Throat Coat tea
Staph InfectionStaphylococcus or Staph is a group of bacteria that can cause a multitude of diseases. Staph infections can cause illness directly by infection or indirectly by the toxins they produce. Symptoms and signs of a Staph infection include redness, swelling, pain, and drainage of pus. Minor skin infections are treated with an antibiotic ointment, while more serious infections are treated with intravenous antibiotics.
Staph Infection SlideshowDo you know what a staph infection is? Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of staph infections (Staphylococcus aureus), and how this group of bacteria can cause a multitude diseases ranging from mild to potentially fatal.
STDs in Men Overview
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. STDs in men cause no symptoms or symptoms like
- rashes, or
Common STDs in men include:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Genital warts
- Genital herpes
Some STDs in men are treatable while others are not. STDs are diagnosed with tests that identify proteins or genetic material of the organisms causing the infection. The prognosis of an STD depends on whether the infection is treatable or not. Use of latex condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting an STD but it does not eliminate the risk entirely.
Strep Throat QuizTake the Strep (Streptococcal) Throat Infection Quiz to learn about causes, symptoms, treatments, prevention methods, diagnosis, and complications of this common infectious disease.
Upper Respiratory Infection
An upper respiratory infection is a contagious infection of the structures of the upper respiratory tract, which includes the sinuses, nasal passages, pharynx, and larynx. Common causes of an upper respiratory infection include bacteria and viruses such as rhinoviruses, group A streptococci, influenza, respiratory syncytial, whooping cough, diphtheria, and Epstein-Barre. Examples of symptoms of upper respiratory infection include:
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
Treatment of upper respiratory infections are based upon the cause. Generally, viral infections are treated symptomatically with over-the-counter (OTC) medication and home remedies.
Urinary Tract InfectionA urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra. E. coli, a type of bacteria that lives in the bowel and near the anus, causes most UTIs. UTI symptoms include pain, abdominal pain, mild fever, urinary urgency and frequency. Treatment involves a course of antibiotics.
UTI SlideshowUrinary tract infections (UTI), including bladder infections, affect women and men, causing UTI symptoms like kidney infection. Read about UTI symptoms, treatment, causes, and home remedies.
UTI Symptoms SlideshowUnderstand urinary tract infection (UTI) through pictures. Our experts describe urinary tract infection symptoms like pelvic pain, pain or burning while urinating, bloody or cloudy urine, and feeling the need to urinate frequently. Learn how UTIs are diagnosed as well in infants, the elderly, and all people.
Urinary Tract Infection QuizHow would you know if you had urinary tract infection (UTI)? Take the Urinary Tract Infection in Adult Quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments for infection that can affect your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.