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Corynebacterium Infections Medication

  • Author: Lynda A Frassetto, MD; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
 
Updated: Mar 15, 2016
 

Medication Summary

For C diphtheriae infection, the therapy is antitoxin and antibiotic treatment. Many antibiotics previously were effective, including penicillin, erythromycin, clindamycin, rifampin, and tetracycline. More recently, resistance to penicillins, erythromycins, and clindamycin has been reported[44, 45] ; this is especially true for nontoxigenic C diphtheriae strains tested in Europe.[46]

For the nondiphtherial corynebacteria, antibiotic susceptibility testing is often required to determine the best treatment.

Booster treatment with diphtheria toxoid is also given often. Please see Deterrence/Prevention for a discussion of vaccinations with toxoid.

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Antitoxins

Class Summary

These agents are administered to neutralize toxin responsible for diphtheria.

Diphtheria antitoxin (DAT)

 

Dose given depends on site of infection and length of time patient is symptomatic. In US, DAT available from CDC. Contact diphtheria duty officer at 404-639-8255 from 8 AM to 4:30 PM (EST) or at 404-639-2889 all other times. Report all suspected cases of diphtheria to local and state health departments.

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Antibiotics

Class Summary

Empiric antimicrobial therapy must be comprehensive and should cover all likely pathogens in the context of the clinical setting.

Vancomycin (Vancocin)

 

Antibiotic useful against gram-positive organisms; corynebacteria are very often susceptible. Useful to treat septicemia, skin structure infections, and IV line infections/bacteremias.

Rifampin (Rifadin)

 

Nondiphtherial corynebacteria often are susceptible.

Linezolid (Zyvox)

 

Linezolid prevents formation of the functional 70S initiation complex, which is essential for the bacterial translation process. It is bacteriostatic against enterococci and staphylococci and bactericidal against most strains of streptococci. Corynebacteria are very often susceptible.[23] Linezolid is used as an alternative in patients allergic to vancomycin and for treatment of vancomycin-resistant enterococci.

Tetracycline (Sumycin, Actisite, Achromycin V)

 

Tetracycline treats gram-positive and gram-negative organisms as well as mycoplasmal, chlamydial, and rickettsial infections. Corynebacteria are often susceptible.[23] It inhibits bacterial protein synthesis by binding with 30S and possibly 50S ribosomal subunit(s).

Tigecycline (Tygacil)

 

Tigecycline is a glycylcycline antibiotic that is structurally similar to tetracycline antibiotics. It inhibits bacterial protein translation by binding to the 30S ribosomal subunit, and it blocks entry of amino-acyl tRNA molecules in ribosome A site.

It is indicated for complicated skin and skin structure infections caused by Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis (vancomycin-susceptible isolates only), Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-susceptible and methicillin-resistant isolates), Streptococcus agalactiae, Streptococcus anginosus grp (includes Streptococcus anginosus, Streptococcus intermedius, and Streptococcus constellatus), Streptococcus pyogenes, and Bacteroides fragilis. It is also generally effective against corynebacteria diphtheroids.[45]

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Lynda A Frassetto, MD Clinical Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine

Lynda A Frassetto, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society of Nephrology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

John W King, MD Professor of Medicine, Chief, Section of Infectious Diseases, Director, Viral Therapeutics Clinics for Hepatitis, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; Consultant in Infectious Diseases, Overton Brooks Veterans Affairs Medical Center

John W King, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American College of Physicians, American Federation for Medical Research, Association of Subspecialty Professors, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD Professor, Chief of Infectious Disease, Program Director of Infectious Disease Fellowship, Department of Internal Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine

Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society for Microbiology, International Immunocompromised Host Society, Infectious Diseases Society of America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

John M Leedom, MD Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

John M Leedom, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, International AIDS Society, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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The corynebacterial tox gene is regulated by the corynebacterial iron-binding repressor, labeled DtxR. Binding of ferrous iron to the DtxR molecule forms a complex that binds to the tox gene operator and inhibits transcription. Depletion of iron from the system removes the repression and allows the toxin to be produced.
The characteristic thick membrane of diphtheria infection in the posterior pharynx.
Cervical edema and cervical lymphadenopathy from diphtheria infection produce a bullneck appearance in this child. (Source: Public Domain www.immunize.org/images/ca.d/ipcd1861/img0002.htm)
 
 
 
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