Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Telithromycin

Telithromycin is an antibiotic effective in the treatment of upper and lower respiratory tract infections caused by susceptible organisms.

0

Telithromycin is the active ingredient of Ketek.

General information

Telithromycin is an antibiotic effective in the treatment of upper and lower respiratory tract infections caused by susceptible organisms.

It is important to note that this medication is only effective against bacterial infections - if your infection is the result of a viral or fungal infection, it will be ineffective.

Antibiotic resistance - when bacteria develop the ability to defend themselves against the effect of an antibiotic - occurs frequently with many antibiotics. The most common causes for these are when patients do not complete the prescribed course in full, allowing bacteria to recover from treatment, and by using antibiotics for non-bacterial infections, such as cold and flu.

How does telithromycin work?

Telithromycin functions by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis - it thus prevents bacteria from producing specific proteins essential for their survival.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4

Available as: telithromycin is available as tablets

What does it do? Telithromycin has an antibiotic effect

Overdose risk: medium

Dependence risk: low

Is telithromycin available as a generic ? no

Is telithromycin available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: it may take a few days for the full beneficial effect to be reached.

Duration of action: up to 24 hours.

Dietary advice: telithromycin should best be taken one hour before or two hours after a meal.

Stopping this medicine: do not stop taking this medication until you have finished the course as prescribed by your doctor - infection may recur with premature discontinuation.

Prolonged use: there is a slim risk of liver damage during prolonged use of the drug; periodic liver function tests are advised.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have a liver disease
  • you have myasthenia gravis
  • if you are allergic to any other antibiotics
  • if you are taking other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children under the age of 12.

The elderly: no special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: c aution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, or blurred vision. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

stomach pain

x

x

nausea/vomiting

x

x

diarrhoea

x

x

headache

x

x

dizziness

x

x

swelling of lips/ face and neck

x

x

visual disturbances

x

x

difficulty breathing/swallowing

x

x

hives, itch, rash

x

x

fever

x

x

heart rhythm disturbance

x

x

yellowish discoloration of skin or eyes

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

alfentanil

increased risk of telithromycin toxicity

felodipine

increased risk of felodipine toxicity

cimetidine

increased risk of telithromycin toxicity or even hearing loss

ciclosporin

increased risk of ciclosporin toxicity

bromocriptine, cabergolide

increased risk of bromocriptine/cabergolide toxicity

ergot alkaloids

ergotism is possible

statin cholesterol lowering drugs

possibility muscle pain and spasms

antacids containing magnesium and aluminium

decreased effect of azithromycin

warfarin

increased risk of warfarin toxicity

carbamazepine

increased risk of carbamazepine toxicity

terfenadine

increased risk of cardiac toxicity

digoxin

increased risk of digoxin toxicity

oral contraceptives

decreased efficacy of the pill

theophylline

increased risk of theophylline toxicity

Disease interactions

Avoid taking telithromycin if you have a liver disease, myasthenia gravis, or if you are allergic to other antibiotics.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 800mg once a day.

Interesting fact

Telithromycin has been known to cause false positive readings in drug screenings for cocaine and amphetamines.

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.