Telithromycin: A Brief Review of a New Ketolide Antibiotic

July 2004 | Volume 3 | Issue 4 | Original Article | 409 | Copyright © July 2004

Noah Scheinfeld MD

Abstract
Telithromycin (Ketek™, Aventis) is a semisynthetic antibacterial agent belonging to a class of drugs called ketolides, which are a variation on the existing class of antibiotics known as macrolides (e.g., erythromycin), whose structure includes a 14-molecule ring. The FDA approved telithromycin for use as a treatment for upper respiratory tract infections in April of 2004. Its primary use is to treat community-acquired pneumonia and sinusitis. Telithromycin fulfills a role that has arisen due to the rise of microbial resistance to existing macrolides and appears to be effective against macrolide-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae. The defining differentiating characteristic of the ketolides as opposed to other macrolides is the removal of the neutral sugar, L-cladinose from the 3 position of the macrolide ring and the subsequent oxidation of the 3-hydroxyl to a 3-keto functional group. Telithromycin seems to be an effective antibiotic in the treatment of a variety of skin infections, although double-blind trials have not proven this and currently no indication for treatment of skin infection is being sought from the FDA. Telithromycin also has excellent penetration into the female genial tract and could be useful for treating infections in this area.