Medical Definition of Methicillin

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Methicillin: A semisynthetic penicillin-related antibiotic, also known as Staphcillin, that once was effective against staphylococci (staph) resistant to penicillin because they produce the enzyme penicillinase. Rarely used now, methicillin has been largely superceded by Vancomycin. Over the past 50 years, staph bacteria have become resistant to various antibiotics, including the commonly used penicillin-related antibiotics, including methicillin. These resistant bacteria are called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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