Increasing the usefulness of antibiotics: Treatment of infections caused by gram-negative bacilli

Leon D. Sabath, Deborah A. Gerstein, Charles D. Leaf, Maxwell Finland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Resistance of gram-negative bacteria to many antibiotics often necessitates the use of relatively toxic antibiotics to treat infections caused by organisms that are resistant to less toxic ones. However, some relatively nontoxic antibiotics that appear to be ineffective against many gram-negative bacilli by conventional tests can, in some instances, be made much more active by appropriate adjunctive measures. The measures studied were: (1) the use o f analogues to inhibit destruction o f antibiotic by bacterial enzymes (more specifically penicillinases) and (2) adjustment o f the pH o f the medium to maximize antibiotic activity. Both were applied to patients with infections caused by gram-negative bacilli. Ampicillin plus a β-lactamase inhibitor, cloxacillin, were used to treat a patient with endocarditis due to Enterobacter cloacae. Gentamicin was found to be 100 or more times as active in vitro at pH 8.5 as at pH 5.0 against most strains of gram-negative bacilli that were studied. The concomitant use of bicarbonate or acetazolamide to alkalinize the urine permitted the use of this antibiotic in a much reduced dose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-167
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1970


  • Acetazolamide/tu [Therapeutic Use]
  • Aged
  • Ampicillin/tu [Therapeutic Use]
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents/tu [Therapeutic Use]
  • Bicarbonates/tu [Therapeutic Use]
  • Cephalothin/tu [Therapeutic Use]
  • Cloxacillin/tu [Therapeutic Use]
  • Drug Synergism
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial/dt [Drug Therapy]
  • Enterobacter
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections/dt [Drug Therapy]
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections/ur [Urine]
  • Female
  • Gentamicins/tu [Therapeutic Use]
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kanamycin/tu [Therapeutic Use]
  • Klebsiella Infections/dt [Drug Therapy]
  • Klebsiella Infections/ur [Urine]
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Chemical
  • Nafcillin/tu [Therapeutic Use]
  • Penicillin Resistance
  • Proteus/de [Drug Effects]
  • Serratia/de [Drug Effects]
  • Urinary Tract Infections/dt [Drug Therapy]


Dive into the research topics of 'Increasing the usefulness of antibiotics: Treatment of infections caused by gram-negative bacilli'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this