What molecule am I?
Clindamycin is an older antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections including pneumonia, strep throat, osteomyelitis, and endocarditis. It was first synthesized in 1966 by Barney J. Magerlein*, Robert D. Birkenmeyer, and Fred Kagan* at Upjohn (Kalamazoo, MI) by chemically modifying lincomycin1, a natural antibiotic. In the next few years, the same authors published additional articles and patents on clindamycin.
Clindamycin works by inhibiting ribosomal translocation in bacteria, reducing their ability to make proteins. It is most effective against aerobic Gram-positive and some anaerobic Gram-negative bacteria. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1970.
Over the years, clindamycin has been a useful, versatile drug; but it is not without side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and rashes. Significantly, it increases the risk of hospital-acquired colitis caused by Clostridium difficile. Although it has some ability to combat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), many bacteria have developed resistance to it.
Currently, clindamycin is taking on a new use: the development of more effective antibiotics. For an example, see this month’s Molecule of the Future, below.
1. CAS Reg. No. 154-21-2.
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