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What Is Streptomycin?

Streptomycin is a kind of antibiotic drug, and gained renown for being the first antibiotic to be used against tuberculosis. It belongs to a group of drugs known as aminoglycosides. Streptomycin is a very strong antibiotic and is used to treat severe illnesses.

This antibiotic cannot be taken orally, but is instead introduced to the body via intramuscular injections. The area where it is injected is usually one of the large muscle groups. In a few countries, streptomycin is allowed to be introduced intravenously. The dosage of streptomycin depends on factors such as the weight of the patient, the specific illness, and other physical conditions that the patient may have. Since it is a strong antibiotic, there are adverse side effects associated with it; hence its use must be closely monitored by medical professionals.

While it was the first antibiotic to have been used to treat tuberculosis, streptomycin is not the first choice in tuberculosis treatment today anymore. It is still used for this purpose, however, especially in areas where other options are too costly. Streptomycin is also used to treat plague, or Yersinia pestis. In this case, the drug is the the treatment of choice.
Other serious illnesses that are treated with streptomycin are bacterial meningitis, certain strains of pneumonia, endocarditis, and tularemia. The drug is also used in large animals such as horses and cattle.

Common side effects of streptomycin are an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and perhaps a loss of appetite. These are not serious side effects, however, and often go away rather quickly. There are potentially serious side effects which should be immediately reported to the doctor, though: rapid heartbeat, bleeding or bruising, chronic diarrhea, and fever.

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