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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The role of fluoroquinolones in tuberculosis today.

Tuberculosis is a growing international health concern; it is the leading infectious cause of death in the world today. The fluoroquinolones are the most recent class of drugs offering hope in the fight against this disease. Ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin and sparfloxacin are currently the most commonly used agents used against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB), with in vitro minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 0.1 to 4 mcg/ml. Resistance in TB to fluoroquinolones may occur spontaneously or may be acquired, especially when these agents are used inappropriately. Cross-resistance among the fluoroquinolones has been shown in TB. The fluoroquinolones offer a favourable pharmacokinetic profile for the treatment of TB. Most demonstrate excellent oral bioavailability and achieve maximum (peak) serum concentrations well above the MIC. They are also distributed widely, including intracellularly. The fluoroquinolones are cleared renally and/or hepatically, with varying serum half-lives. Fluoroquinolones are most effective when the peak concentration (Cmax) to MIC ratio is maximised. Fluoroquinolones such as ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin have been used in regimens for the prevention of TB, but have been poorly tolerated when used in combination with pyrazinamide. Favourable responses with fluoroquinolones in regimens used in the treatment of clinical TB disease have been seen. They, however, are not to be considered as equal replacements for isoniazid or rifampicin (rifampin) and should be used with at least 2 other antituberculous agents. Therapeutic drug monitoring of fluoroquinolones is beneficial in assuring that maximum Cmax to MIC ratios are being achieved, especially in patients at risk for malabsorption, such as those infected with HIV. Higher, once-daily doses of most fluoroquinolones are becoming more common in treating TB. Fluoroquinolones are generally well tolerated with long term use in treating TB, but rare, serious adverse effects have been reported with general fluoroquinolone use. The most common drug interactions with fluoroquinolones in TB therapy include the malabsorption interactions associated with multivalent cations and cytochrome P450 interactions with ciprofloxacin. An increased risk of central nervous system effects with concomitant cycloserine has been reported and seen clinically. When using fluoroquinolones to treat TB, careful consideration of individual susceptibility patterns, pharmacokinetic and toxicity profiles should be taken. The aid of a TB expert may also be warranted. The exact role of the fluoroquinolones in treating TB remains to be determined.[1]


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