HOUSTON (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- Traditional antibiotics like penicillin may now be powerless against new strains of bacteria. Stronger antibiotics have been developed but those too are losing the battle against mutated versions of bacteria. Now, doctors are looking to a new class of drugs to do the trick.
When Twana Krauhs is asked about her daughter Amy, she says, “She’s a true little girl, but yet she doesn’t let her tomboy older sister and little brother go off without her.” So when this bundle of energy struggled to breathe, Twana and her husband John knew something was wrong.
“It was very scary, very, very scary. They’re like, ‘No, don’t leave her at all in this room by herself -- even to go to the bathroom,’” Twana tells Ivanhoe. Amy had pneumonia from an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Doctors turned to a new medication.
“It’s the first new class of antibiotics that’s been approved for use by the FDA in perhaps 10 years or so,” says Sheldon L. Kaplan, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
Studies show linezolid is as effective as gold standard medications but works on a different site on the bacteria, making it effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Dr. Kaplan says as antibiotics are used unnecessarily, bacteria build up a resistance to drugs. “We need newer antibiotics to address these resistance problems, which I think are just going to continue to increase.”
Twana is thankful the medication worked when Amy needed it. She says, “She’s too young, too valuable a little life to take that chance on.”
Dr. Kaplan points out that linezolid is not expected to be used to treat routine infections but is likely to serve as another option to treat patients with serious infections that require hospitalization.
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