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A drug may be classified by the chemical type of the active ingredient or by the way it is used to treat a particular condition. Each drug can be classified into one or more drug classes.

Aminoglycosides are a group of bactericidal antibiotics, which act by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis. Their use is restricted because of potential side effects, as they can cause ear and kidney damage. All the aminoglycosides resemble each other in antibacterial activity, pharmacokinetics and toxicity.

Aminoglycosides are not well absorbed when given orally, so need to be given intravenously for systemic infections.

Aminoglycosides are used when other less toxic antibiotics are contraindicated or ineffective. They are mainly active against aerobic gram-negative bacilli, staphylococci and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but lack activity against anaerobes.

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