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What is Daptomycin?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Daptomycin is an antibiotic available for use in treating infections of the skin and bloodstream when Gram positive bacteria are the cause. This medication comes in injection form and may be given to a patient in a clinic or at home. Patients on this drug are an increased risk of developing eosinophilic pneumonia, a respiratory disease where the lungs fill with white blood cells. A doctor will need to monitor the patient throughout treatment for early warning signs of respiratory distress.

Researchers initially isolated daptomycin from bacteria, a common source for antibiotics, as bacteria like to build their own defenses against competition. The medication works by killing bacteria, stopping an infection in its tracks so it cannot spread. Patients usually start to feel better within several days of starting therapy, but need to complete a full course of treatment to make sure the infection is completely gone. If patients stop too soon, the infection can return and the bacteria will have some resistance to daptomycin, as they represent the survivors of the first round of antibiotic therapy.

While on this medication, patients can experience stomach upset, sleep problems, and headaches. Many of the side effects are mild, and not seen in all patients. If patients experience severe side effects like bloody diarrhea or vomit, they need to discuss the situation with a doctor. Symptoms like redness, swelling, and rash around the injection site are also a cause for concern and may indicate an allergic reaction. Contaminated daptomycin can also cause similar warning signs.

Patients who develop coughs, difficulty breathing, a crackling feeling in the lungs, and fatigue may have eosinophilic pneumonia. Treatment for this side effect is critical, as patients can be at risk of serious problems if they do not treat respiratory problems. A doctor may need to hospitalize the patient in order to provide the most effective treatment, depending on her general level of health and the intensity of the pneumonia.

Studies on daptomycin do not suggest any unusual risks in using the medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding. More study is needed to confirm it as safe for use and pregnant women may want to discuss their options carefully when receiving antibiotics. Alternative medications with a better safety record may be available and could be a good starting point for treatment. Women who notice any unusual side effects during pregnancy should report them immediately, and make sure their doctors submit a report on severe side effects or pregnancy loss to regulatory agencies, as this data can be useful in making determinations about whether medication is safe for use in pregnant women.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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