Spectinomycin is a bacteriostatic antibiotic chemically related to the aminoglycosides (see Aminoglycosides). Spectinomycin binds to the 30S subunit of the ribosome, thus inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis. Its activity is restricted to gonococci. Spectinomycin is excreted by glomerular filtration.
Spectinomycin is not effective for gonococcal pharyngitis. It is not available in the US, and where available, it is reserved for patients who cannot be treated with ceftriaxone or cefixime plus azithromycin or doxycycline.
Adverse effects, including hypersensitivity reactions and fever, are rare.