Classification of Antibiotics based on their Mechanism of Action

Antibiotics are substances produced by micro organisms which suppress the growth of or destroy other micro organisms. It was Pasteur and Joubert who first identified that micro organisms could be used to destroy other micro organisms. We have to keep in mind about the mode of action on Bacteria which mostly affect the bacterial cell wall, protein synthesis or DNA of the organisms to produce the desired effect. Chemotherapy is the treatment procedures depicting the effect of antibiotics on infections caused due to micro organism.

Classification of antibiotics based on Mechanism of action on micro organisms


Based on their Mechanism of Action Antibiotics are classified depending on the effect they have on the micro organisms which results in either Bacteristatistic or Bactericidal action.

Inhibition of Cell wall Synthesis:

  • Pencillin
  • Cephalosporins
  • Cycloserines
  • Bacitracin

Inhibition of Protein Synthesis:

  • Macrolides – Erythromycin
  • Clindamycin
  • Lincomycin
  • Chloramphenicol

Inhibition of protein synthesis by binding to 30S Ribosomes:

  • Tetracyclines:
  • Aminogylcosides
  • Chloremphenicol
  • Clindamycin
  • Linezoid
  • Streptogramins

Interferes with intermediary metabolism by damaging DNA: 

  • Trimethopim
  • Metronidazole

Interferes with DNA function: 

  • Sulfonamides: Interfers with bacterial intake and thus effects DNA function
  • Rifampicin

Inhibition of DNA gyrase: 

  • Fluoroquinolones: Ciprofloxacin and Norfloxacin

Leakage of cell contents by damage to Bacterial Cell Membrane: 

Anti Fungal Drugs:

  • Amphotericin B
  • Nystatin
  • Polymmyxins
  • Colistin


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