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By Hans P. Schlecht, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine
Christopher Bruno, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine

Telithromycin belongs to a class of antibiotics called ketolides.

Because telithromycin can have serious side effects, doctors typically use it only if other antibiotics are unavailable or cannot be used.

Telithromycin works by preventing bacteria from producing proteins they need to grow and multiply.

Telithromycin is taken by mouth and can be taken with or without food.


Common Uses

Some Side Effects


Mild to moderate community-acquired pneumonia

Visual disturbances

Liver damage (possibly fatal)

Not used in people with myasthenia gravis (possibly fatal)

Telithromycin is recommended only for the treatment of people over 18 years old. Telithromycin is not used with pimozide (an antipsychotic drug) because abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) may occur.

Use of Telithromycin During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Telithromycin should be used during pregnancy only when the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks.

Whether use of telithromycin during breastfeeding is safe is not known.

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