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Glycopeptides ˌglī-kō-ˈpep-ˌtīd

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

Glycopeptides are a class of antibiotics used to treat complicated and/or serious infections caused by gram-positive bacteria.

Glycopeptides include the following:

  • Dalbavancin

  • Oritavancin

  • Telavancin

  • Vancomycin

Some bacteria have an outer covering (cell wall) that protects them. Glycopeptides work by preventing bacteria from forming this cell wall, resulting in the death of the bacteria.

Glycopeptides

Drug

Common Uses

Some Side Effects

Dalbavancin

Given by injection into a vein: Complicated skin infections due to susceptible bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Gastrointestinal upset

Oritavancin

Given by injection into a vein: Complicated skin infections due to susceptible bacteria, including MRSA

Gastrointestinal upset

Headache

Telavancin

Serious infections, especially those due to susceptible Enterococcus bacteria or bacteria that are resistant to other antibiotics, including MRSA

Gastrointestinal upset

Metallic taste

Foamy urine

Kidney damage

Insomnia, dizziness, psychiatric disturbance, and headache

Shortness of breath

A decrease in the platelet count

Flushing and itching of the face, neck, and shoulders

Vancomycin

Serious infections, especially those due to susceptible Enterococcus bacteria or bacteria that are resistant to other antibiotics, including MRSA

Flushing and itching of the face, neck, and shoulders

A decrease in white blood cell and platelet counts

Use of Glycopeptides During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Use of glycopeptides during pregnancy is not recommended, but sometimes the benefits of treatment may outweigh the risks.

Use of glycopeptides during breastfeeding is discouraged.

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