List of antibiotics

The following are lists of antibiotics for specific microbial coverage.


Antibiotics that cover methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). refers to a group of Gram-positive bacteria that are genetically distinct from other strains of Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA is responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans:

  • Vancomycin
  • Teicoplanin
  • Linezolid
  • Daptomycin
  • Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole
  • Doxycycline
  • Ceftobiprole(5th generation)
  • Ceftaroline (5th generation)
  • Clindamycin
  • Dalbavancin
  • Fusidic acid
  • Mupirocin (topical)
  • Omadacycline
  • Oritavancin
  • Tedizolid
  • Telavancin
  • Tigecycline (also covers gram negatives)

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Antibiotics that cover Pseudomonas aeruginosa ( common encapsulated, Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that can cause disease in plants and animals, including humans):

  • Aminoglycosides
  • Carbapenems
  • Ceftazidime (3rd generation)
  • Cefepime (4th generation)
  • Ceftobiprole (5th generation)
  • Ceftolozane/tazobactam
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Piperacillin/tazobactam
  • Ticarcillin/clavulanic acid


Antibiotics that cover vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE). are bacterial strains of the genus Enterococcus that are resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin:

  • Linezolid
  • Streptogramins
  • Tigecycline
  • Daptomycin

Types of Antibiotics by class

Antibiotics coverage diagram

Antibiotics by class
Generic nameBrand namesCommon usesPossible side effectsMechanism of action
AmikacinAmikinInfections caused by Gram-negative bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Klebsiella particularly Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Effective against aerobic bacteria (not obligate/facultative anaerobes) and tularemia. All aminoglycosides are ineffective when taken orally as the stomach will digest the drug before it goes into the bloodstream. However aminoglycosides are effective in Intravenous, intramuscular and topical forms.
  • Hearing loss
  • Vertigo
  • Kidney damage
Binding to the bacterial 30S ribosomal subunit (some work by binding to the 50S subunit), inhibiting the translocation of the peptidyl-tRNA from the A-site to the P-site and also causing misreading of mRNA, leaving the bacterium unable to synthesize proteins vital to its growth.
GeldanamycinExperimental, as antitumor antibioticsBlock DNA transcription, either via inhibiting DNA-dependent RNA polymerase by binding to the β-subunit
RifaximinXifaxanTraveler’s diarrhea caused by E. coli
LoracarbefLorabidDiscontinuedPrevents bacterial cell division by inhibiting cell wall synthesis.
ErtapenemInvanzBactericidal for both Gram-positive and Gram-negative organisms and therefore useful for empiric broad-spectrum antibacterial coverage. (Notes: MRSA resistance to this class. All are active against Pseudomonas aeruginosa except ertapenem.)
  • Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Headache
  • Rash and allergic reactions
Inhibition of cell wall synthesis
Cephalosporins (First generation)
CefadroxilDuricefGood coverage against Gram-positive infections.
  • Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea
  • Nausea (if alcohol taken concurrently)
  • Allergic reactions
Same mode of action as other beta-lactam antibiotics: disrupt the synthesis of the peptidoglycan layer of bacterial cell walls.
CefazolinAncef, Kefzol
Cephalosporins (Second generation)
CefaclorDistaclor, Ceclor, RaniclorLess Gram-positive cover, improved Gram-negative cover.
  • Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea
  • Nausea (if alcohol taken concurrently) – if contains methylthiotetrazole side group
  • Hypoprothrombinemia – if contains methylthiotetrazole side group
  • Allergic reactions
Same mode of action as other beta-lactam antibiotics: disrupt the synthesis of the peptidoglycan layer of bacterial cell walls.
CefuroximeCeftin, Zinacef (UK)
Cephalosporins (Third generation)
Cefixime (antagonistic with Chloramphenicol)Cefspan (Fujisawa), SupraxImproved coverage of Gram-negative organisms, except Pseudomonas. Reduced Gram-positive cover. But still not cover Mycoplasma and Chlamydia
  • Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea
  • Nausea (if alcohol taken concurrently)
  • Allergic reactions
Same mode of action as other beta-lactam antibiotics: disrupt the synthesis of the peptidoglycan layer of bacterial cell walls.
CefdinirOmnicef, Cefdiel
CefditorenSpectracef, Meiact
Cefoperazone [Unlike most third-generation agents, cefoperazone is active against Pseudomonas aeruginosa], combination Cefoperazone with Sulbactam makes more effective antibiotic, because Sulbactam avoid degeneration of CefoperazoneCefobid (discontinued)
CefpodoximeVantin, Banadoz
Ceftazidime (Unlike most third-generation agents, ceftazidime is active against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, but less active against Staphylococci and Streptococci compare to other 3rd generation of cephalosporins)Fortaz, Ceptaz
Ceftriaxone (IV and IM, not orally, effective also for syphilis and uncomplicated gonorrhea)Rocephin
Cephalosporins (Fourth generation)
CefepimeMaxipimeCovers pseudomonal infections.
  • Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea
  • Nausea (if alcohol taken concurrently)
  • Allergic reactions
Same mode of action as other beta-lactam antibiotics: disrupt the synthesis of the peptidoglycan layer of bacterial cell walls.
Cephalosporins (Fifth generation)
Ceftaroline fosamilTeflaroUsed to treat MRSA
  • Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea
  • Allergic reaction
Same mode of action as other beta-lactam antibiotics: disrupt the synthesis of the peptidoglycan layer of bacterial cell walls.
CeftobiproleZefteraUsed to treat MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and enterococci
  • Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea
  • Nausea (if alcohol taken concurrently)
  • Allergic reactions
Same mode of action as other beta-lactam antibiotics: disrupt the synthesis of the peptidoglycan layer of bacterial cell walls.
TeicoplaninTargocid (UK)Active against aerobic and anaerobic Gram-positive bacteria including MRSA; Vancomycin is used orally for the treatment of C. difficile colitisInhibits peptidoglycan synthesis.
ClindamycinCleocinSerious staph-, pneumo-, and streptococcal infections in penicillin-allergic patients, also anaerobic infections; clindamycin topically for acnePossible C. difficile-related pseudomembranous enterocolitisBinds to 50S subunit of bacterial ribosomal RNA thereby inhibiting protein synthesis.
DaptomycinCubicinGram-positive organisms, but is inhibited by pulmonary surfactant so less effective against pneumoniasBinds to the membrane and cause rapid depolarization, resulting in a loss of membrane potential leading to inhibition of protein, DNA and RNA synthesis.
AzithromycinZithromax, Sumamed, XithroneStreptococcal infections, syphilis, upper respiratory tract infections, lower respiratory tract infections, mycoplasmal infections, Lyme disease
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (especially at higher doses)
  • Prolonged cardiac QT interval (especially erythromycin)
  • Hearing loss (especially at higher doses)
  • Jaundice
Inhibition of bacterial protein biosynthesis by binding reversibly to the subunit 50S of the bacterial ribosome, thereby inhibiting translocation of peptidyl tRNA.
ErythromycinErythocin, Erythroped
TelithromycinKetekPneumoniaVisual Disturbance, Liver Toxicity.
SpiramycinRovamycineMouth infections
FidaxomicinDificidTreatment of Clostridioides (formerly Clostridium) difficile infection. May be more narrow-spectrum than vancomycin, resulting in less bowel microbiota alteration.Nausea (11%), vomiting, and abdominal pain.Bactericidal in susceptible organisms such as C. difficile by inhibiting RNA polymerase, thereby inhibiting protein synthesis.
AztreonamAzactamGram-negative bacteriaSame mode of action as other beta-lactam antibiotics: disrupt the synthesis of the peptidoglycan layer of bacterial cell walls.
FurazolidoneFuroxoneBacterial or protozoal diarrhea or enteritis
Nitrofurantoin(Bs)Macrodantin, MacrobidUrinary tract infections
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Serotonin Syndrome
Protein synthesis inhibitor; prevents the initiation step
PosizolidPhase II clinical trials
RadezolidPhase II clinical trials
AmoxicillinNovamox, AmoxilWide range of infections; penicillin used for streptococcal infections, syphilis, and Lyme disease
  • Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea
  • Allergy with serious anaphylactic reactions
  • Brain and kidney damage (rare)
Same mode of action as other beta-lactam antibiotics: disrupt the synthesis of the peptidoglycan layer of bacterial cell walls.
AmpicillinPrincipen (discontinued)
DicloxacillinDynapen (discontinued)
FlucloxacillinFloxapen (Sold to European generics Actavis Group)
MezlocillinMezlin (discontinued)
MethicillinStaphcillin (discontinued)
NafcillinUnipen (discontinued)
OxacillinProstaphlin (discontinued)
Penicillin GPentids (discontinued)
Penicillin VVeetids (Pen-Vee-K) (discontinued)
PiperacillinPipracil (discontinued)
Penicillin GPfizerpen
TemocillinNegaban (UK) (discontinued)
TicarcillinTicar (discontinued)
Penicillin combinations
Amoxicillin/clavulanateAugmentinBoth Amoxicillin/clavulanate and Ampicillin/sulbactam are effective against non-recurrent acute otitis media. Amoxicillin/clavulanate is one of the few oral antibiotics effective against skin and soft tissue infections. Can be given to children less than 40 kilograms in weight; for children heavier, the dosage is same as adults, twice daily.The second component reduces the effectiveness of some forms of bacterial resistance to the first component
BacitracinEye, ear or bladder infections; usually applied directly to the eye or inhaled into the lungs; rarely given by injection, although the use of intravenous colistin is experiencing a resurgence due to the emergence of multi drug resistant organisms.Kidney and nerve damage (when given by injection)Inhibits isoprenyl pyrophosphate, a molecule that carries the building blocks of the peptidoglycan bacterial cell wall outside of the inner membrane
ColistinColy-Mycin-SInteract with the Gram-negative bacterial outer membrane and cytoplasmic membrane, displacing bacterial counterions, which destabilizes the outer membrane. Act like a detergent against the cytoplasmic membrane, which alters its permeability. Polymyxin B and E are bactericidal even in an isosmotic solution.
Polymyxin B
CiprofloxacinCipro, Ciproxin, CiprobayUrinary tract infections, bacterial prostatitis, community-acquired pneumonia, bacterial diarrhea, mycoplasmal infections, gonorrheaNausea (rare), irreversible damage to central nervous system (uncommon), tendinosis (rare)Inhibits the bacterial DNA gyrase or the topoisomerase IV enzyme, thereby inhibiting DNA replication and transcription.
Nalidixic acidNegGram
OfloxacinFloxin (discontinued), Ocuflox
MafenideSulfamylonUrinary tract infections (except sulfacetamide, used for eye infections, and mafenide and silver sulfadiazine, used topically for burns)
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Allergy (including skin rashes)
  • Crystals in urine
  • Kidney failure
  • Decrease in white blood cell count
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
Folate synthesis inhibition. They are competitive inhibitors of the enzyme dihydropteroate synthetase, DHPS. DHPS catalyses the conversion of PABA (para-aminobenzoate) to dihydropteroate, a key step in folate synthesis. Folate is necessary for the cell to synthesize nucleic acids (nucleic acids are essential building blocks of DNA and RNA), and in its absence cells cannot divide.
SulfacetamideSulamyd, Bleph-10
Silver sulfadiazineSilvadene
SulfadimethoxineDi-Methox, Albon
SulfamethizoleThiosulfil Forte
Sulfanilimide (archaic)
Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole (Co-trimoxazole) (TMP-SMX)Bactrim, Septra
Sulfonamidochrysoidine (archaic)Prontosil
DemeclocyclineDeclomycinSyphilis, chlamydial infections, Lyme disease, mycoplasmal infections, acne rickettsial infections, malaria
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Potential toxicity to mother and fetus during pregnancy
  • Enamel hypoplasia (staining of teeth; potentially permanent)
  • Transient depression of bone growth
Inhibits the binding of aminoacyl-tRNA to the mRNA-ribosome complex. They do so mainly by binding to the 30S ribosomal subunit in the mRNA translation complex. But Tetracycline cannot be taken together with all dairy products, aluminium, iron and zinc minerals.
TetracyclineSumycin, Achromycin V, Steclin
Drugs against mycobacteria
CycloserineSeromycinAntituberculosis, urinary tract infections
EthionamideTrecatorAntituberculosisInhibits peptide synthesis
Rifampicin (Rifampin in US)Rifadin, Rimactanemostly Gram-positive and mycobacteriaReddish-orange sweat, tears, and urineBinds to the β subunit of RNA polymerase to inhibit transcription
RifabutinMycobutinMycobacterium avium complexRash, discolored urine, GI symptoms
StreptomycinAntituberculosisNeurotoxicity, ototoxicityAs other aminoglycosides
ArsphenamineSalvarsanSpirochaetal infections (obsolete)
Chloramphenicol(Bs)ChloromycetinMeningitis, MRSA, topical use, or for low-cost internal treatment. Historic: typhus, cholera. Gram-negative, Gram-positive, anaerobesRarely: aplastic anemia.Inhibits bacterial protein synthesis by binding to the 50S subunit of the ribosome
FosfomycinMonurol, MonurilAcute cystitis in womenThis antibiotic is not recommended for children and 75 and up of ageInactivates enolpyruvyl transferase, thereby blocking cell wall synthesis
Fusidic acidFucidin
MetronidazoleFlagylInfections caused by anaerobic bacteria; also amoebiasis, trichomoniasis, giardiasisDiscolored urine, headache, metallic taste, nausea; alcohol is contraindicatedProduces toxic free radicals that disrupt DNA and proteins. This non-specific mechanism is responsible for its activity against a variety of bacteria, amoebae, and protozoa.
MupirocinBactrobanOintment for impetigo, cream for infected cutsInhibits isoleucine t-RNA synthetase (IleRS) causing inhibition of protein synthesis
ThiamphenicolGram-negative, Gram-positive, anaerobes. Widely used in veterinary medicine.Rash. Lacks known anemic side-effects.A chloramphenicol analog. May inhibit bacterial protein synthesis by binding to the 50S subunit of the ribosome
Tigecycline(Bs)TigacylSlowly Intravenous. Indicated for complicated skin/skin structure infections, soft tissue infections and complicated intra-abdominal infections. Effective for gram-positive, gram-negative, anaerobic, and against multi-antibiotic resistant bacteria (such as Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA] and Acinetobacter baumannii), but not effective for Pseudomonas spp. and Proteus spp.Teeth discoloration and same side effects as tetracycline. Not to be given for children and pregnant or lactate women. Relatively safe and no need dose adjusted when be given for mild to moderate liver function or renal patientsSimilar structure with tetracycline, but 5 times stronger, big volume distribution and long half-time in the body
TinidazoleTindamax FasigynProtozoal infectionsUpset stomach, bitter taste, and itchiness
Trimethoprim(Bs)Proloprim, TrimpexUrinary tract infections
Generic NameBrand NamesCommon UsesPossible Side EffectsMechanism of action

Note types of antibiotics: (Bs): Bacteriostatic

Antibiotic candidates

These are antibiotic candidates, and known antibiotics that are not yet mass-produced.

Antibiotic candidates
Generic nameOriginSusceptible phylaStage of developmentMechanism of action
TeixobactinEleftheria terraeGram-positive, including antibiotic resistant S. aureus and M. tuberculosisNo human trials scheduledBinds fatty acid precursors to cell wall
MalacidinsUncultured BacteriumGram-positive, including antibiotic resistant S. aureusNo human trials scheduledBinds fatty acid precursors to cell wall
HalicinAnti-diabetic drugClostridiodes difficile, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Mycobacterium tuberculosisNo human trials scheduledDisrupts electrochemical gradient