Antibiotic Class:


Antimicrobial Spectrum:

Gram-positive bacteria, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia  pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila, H. influenzae, M. catarrhalis, Neisseria spp., Bordatella pertussis.

Mechanism of Action:

Inhibits bacterial protein synthesis by interacting close to the peptidyl transferase site of the 50S ribosomal subunit.  The main binding sites are within domains II and V of the 23S rRNA.


Ketolides AUC:MIC ratio strongly correlates with efficacy.


Cmax: 1.9 mcg/mL; Half-life: 1 hour; Protein binding: 70%;  Table 4

Adverse Effects:

Gastrointestinal: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

Cardiovascular System: atrial arrhythmias, flushing, hypotension, bradycardia

Central Nervous System: headache, dizziness, somnolence, insomnia, vertigo

Endocrine: increased sweating

Hepatic: hepatitis, abnormal LFTs, fulminant hepatitis

Ocular: blurred vision, diplopia

Respiratory: respiratory failure in myasthenia gravis patients

Musculoskeletal: worsening of myasthenia gravis symptoms


Tablet: 400mg

Bacterial Sinusitis: 800mg daily for 5 days (no longer FDA approved)

Chronic Bronchitis: 800mg daily for 5 days (no longer FDA approved)

Community-Acquired Pneumonia: 800mg daily for 7-10 days

Disease state based dosing:

Renal Failure: For the patients with creatinine clearance (CrCl) equal to or greater than 30 ml/min, no adjustment is necessary. In patients with CrCl < 30, data suggests dosage adjustments should be made, yet specific guidelines are not yet available.

Hepatic failures: Dosage adjustment is not required. Telithromycin must be given with caution given very rare episodes of hepatitis.


Precautions: telithromycin can prolong the QT interval; avoid with drugs known to be associated with cardiac toxicities, jaundice/hepatitis can occur, history of myasthenia gravis

Drug Interactions:

Interactions of major severity include drugs that have additive effects on QT prolongation.  These drugs are contraindicated in patients taking telithromycin.  Although not comprehensive, these agents represent the more common agents used clinically: antipsychotics, astemizole, cisapride, clarithromycin, antiarrhythmic agents, cotrimoxazole,  dolesetron, droperidol, erythromycin, fluconazole, fluoxetine, isradipine, isoflurane, phenothiazines

Interactions of major severity include drugs that are substrates of CYP-3A4.  Telithromycin inhibits this enzyme, resulting in increased serum levels of the following drugs and others metabolized by CYP-3A4: atorvastatin simvastatin, dihydroergotamine, ergot derivatives midazolam.


Category C: Risk unknown. Human studies inadequate.

Monitoring Requirements:

Therapeutic: WBC, culture and sensitivity, temperature

Toxicity: Liver function tests, EKG, signs of hypersensitivity, dizziness

Brand names/Manufacturer:

Ketek/Aventis Pharmaceuticals