(See also Overview of Antibiotics.)
Aztreonam is the only antibiotic in an antibiotic class called monobactams, which are a subclass of beta-lactam antibiotics (antibiotics that have a chemical structure called a beta-lactam ring). Beta-lactam antibiotics also include carbapenems, cephalosporins, and penicillins.
Aztreonam is used with aminoglycosides to treat some infections because using them together enhances the effectiveness of both antibiotics.
Some bacteria have an outer covering (cell wall) that protects them. Like the other beta-lactam antibiotics, aztreonam works by preventing bacteria from forming this cell wall, resulting in death of the bacteria.
Aztreonam should be taken during pregnancy only when the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks. No harmful effects on the fetus have been observed in animal studies, but no well-designed studies have been done in pregnant women.
Use of aztreonam during breastfeeding is generally considered acceptable.