What is Daptomycin and When is It Used?
Daptomycin is an antibiotic from the lipopeptide group of antibiotics. Active ingredients of the medicine are derived from an actinobacteria species called Streptomyces roseosporus which lives in the soil. Antibiotic action of this actinobacteria was first discovered by the U.S.-headquartered Eli Lilly and Company in the 1980s but the pharmaceutical company soon discontinued with the development of the medication due to severe side effects involving skeletal muscles when administrated in larger amounts. In the late 1990s, the rights to the antibiotic were purchased by the Cubist Pharmaceuticals which continued with the development and in the early 2000s, daptomycin was approved for clinical use.
This antibiotic is used for treatment of severe bacterial infections. It is effective against Gram-positive bacteria including Enterococcus, Staphylococcus (both methicillin-susceptible and methicillin-resistant strains) and Streptococcus species, to mention only a few. It is most often used for treatment of bacterial skin infections but it has also been shown to be effective against bacteremia (blood poisoning) by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and endocarditis (right-sided).
Resistance to daptomycin is rare but there have been a few reports of bacteria strains not responding to treatment with this antibiotic, first in Asia and then in Europe and the United States.
How is Daptomycin Taken/Administered?
Daptomycin is administered as an injection or intravenous infusion once a day or once every other day if the patient has kidney problems or is on kidney dialysis. Treatment lasts one to two weeks, in some cases up to six weeks. Duration of the treatment depends on the severity and type of bacteria responsible for the infection.
Like other antibiotics, daptomycin must be used for the full course to kill the disease-causing bacteria and clear up the infection. Otherwise the infection may not clear up completely. In addition, the bacteria may become less susceptible to the effects of this and other antibiotics which in turn can make future infections very difficult to treat.
Side Effects of Daptomycin
All antibiotics can cause side effects. The most common side effects of damptomycin include nausea with or without vomiting, headache, difficulty sleeping, pain and redness at the site of the injection and anxiety. Also very common side effect of daptomycin is mild diarrhoea and in rare cases, severe diarrhoea due to secondary infection which can develop during or after the treatment. Other severe side effects requiring immediate medical attention include allergic reactions (swelling in the face, difficulties breathing, rash), changes in the amount of urine, extreme tiredness/weakness and muscle pain/weakness (myopathy).