Which medications in the drug class Antibiotics are used in the treatment of Cholecystitis?

Updated: May 20, 2021
  • Author: Alan A Bloom, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Treatment of cholecystitis with antibiotics should provide coverage against the most common organisms, including Escherichia coli and Bacteroides fragilis, as well as Klebsiella,Pseudomonas, and Enterococcus species. The current Sanford guide recommendations for the treatment of cholecystitis include ampicillin/sulbactam or piperacillin/tazobactam for non–life-threatening cases of cholecystitis. In life-threatening cases, Sanford recommends imipenem/cilastatin or meropenem. Alternatives include metronidazole plus a third-generation cephalosporin, ciprofloxacin, or aztreonam.

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

Ciprofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone that inhibits bacterial DNA synthesis and, consequently, growth, by inhibiting DNA gyrase and topoisomerases, which are required for replication, transcription, and translation of genetic material. Quinolones have a broad activity against gram-positive and gram-negative aerobic organisms but no activity against anaerobes. Continue treatment for at least 2 days (7-14 days is typical) after signs and symptoms have disappeared.

Meropenem (Merrem)

Meropenem is a bactericidal broad-spectrum carbapenem antibiotic that inhibits cell wall synthesis. It is effective against most gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. It has slightly increased activity against gram-negatives and slightly decreased activity against staphylococci and streptococci compared to imipenem.

Imipenem and cilastatin (Primaxin)

This combination is used to treat multiple-organism infections in which other agents do not have wide spectrum coverage or are contraindicated because of potential for toxicity.

Piperacillin and tazobactam (Zosyn)

This combination is an antipseudomonal penicillin plus a beta-lactamase inhibitor. It inhibits biosynthesis of cell wall mucopeptide and is effective during the stage of active multiplication.

Ampicillin and sulbactam (Unasyn)

This drug combination is a beta-lactamase inhibitor with ampicillin. It covers epidermal and enteric flora and anaerobes. It is not ideal for nosocomial pathogens.

Metronidazole (Flagyl)

Metronidazole is an imidazole ring-based antibiotic that is active against various anaerobic bacteria and protozoa. It is used in combination with other antimicrobial agents (except in Clostridium difficile enterocolitis).

Levofloxacin (Levaquin)

Levofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone that is used for pseudomonal infections and infections due to multidrug-resistant gram-negative organisms. Prophylactic antibiotic coverage with levofloxacin (Levaquin, 500 mg PO qd) and metronidazole (500 mg PO bid) provides coverage against the most common organisms in cases of uncomplicated cholecystitis.

Aztreonam (Azactam)

Aztreonam is a monobactam, not a beta-lactam, antibiotic that inhibits cell wall synthesis during bacterial growth. It is active against gram-negative bacilli but has very limited gram-positive activity and is not useful for anaerobes. It lacks cross-sensitivity with beta-lactam antibiotics. Aztreonam may be used in patients allergic to penicillins or cephalosporins and is an alternative to life-threatening cases of cholecystitis.

Ceftriaxone (Rocephin)

Ceftriaxone is a third-generation cephalosporin with broad-spectrum, gram-negative activity; it has lower efficacy against gram-positive organisms and higher efficacy against resistant organisms. Its bactericidal activity results from inhibiting cell wall synthesis by binding to one or more penicillin-binding proteins. It exerts an antimicrobial effect by interfering with the synthesis of peptidoglycan, a major structural component of bacterial cell walls. Bacteria eventually lyse as a result of the ongoing activity of cell wall autolytic enzymes, while cell wall assembly is arrested.

Cefotaxime (Claforan)

Cefotaxime is a third-generation cephalosporin with a broad gram-negative spectrum, lower efficacy against gram-positive organisms, and higher efficacy against resistant organisms.

Ceftazidime (Fortaz)

Ceftazidime is a third-generation cephalosporin with broad-spectrum, gram-negative activity, including against pseudomonas; it has lower efficacy against gram-positive organisms and higher efficacy against resistant organisms. It arrests bacterial growth by binding to one or more penicillin-binding proteins, which, in turn, inhibits the final transpeptidation step of peptidoglycan synthesis in bacterial cell wall synthesis, thus inhibiting cell wall biosynthesis.

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