Ethionamide may be bacteriostatic or bactericidal in action, depending on the concentration of the drug attained at the site of infection and the susceptibility of the infecting organism. Ethionamide, like prothionamide and pyrazinamide, is a nicotinic acid derivative related to isoniazid. It is thought that ethionamide undergoes intracellular modification and acts in a similar fashion to isoniazid. Isoniazid inhibits the synthesis of mycoloic acids, an essential component of the bacterial cell wall. Specifically isoniazid inhibits InhA, the enoyl reductase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, by forming a covalent adduct with the NAD cofactor. It is the INH-NAD adduct that acts as a slow, tight-binding competitive inhibitor of InhA.
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