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Reading over the production section of this paper interests me in learning more and make me wish that there was at least a little bit more about how antibiotics are created whether it be fermentation is explained in a simple way, or a recent new chemical pathway. There is a lot of research being conducted as we speak regarding the production of antibiotics and it would be helpful to include some of these processes here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mcgue.13 (talkcontribs) 01:13, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

False information in classes[edit]

> Following a 40-year hiatus in discovering new classes of antibacterial compounds, four new classes of antibacterial antibiotics have been brought into clinical use:[when?] cyclic lipopeptides (such as daptomycin), glycylcyclines (such as tigecycline), oxazolidinones (such as linezolid), and lipiarmycins (such as fidaxomicin).[21][22]

  • Oxazolidinones were in use in the 1950s (notably the TB drug Seromycin).
  • The citations do not support the sentence as written. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:32, 8 January 2015 (UTC)


@CFCF:There seems to be something amiss with the first-used assertion. Compare Sulfonamide (medicine)#History. Of course there's a long history of herbals used as topical antibiotics too, not to mention soap and water, alcohol, etc. Some rewording would seem to be warranted. LeadSongDog come howl! 17:12, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

@LeadSongDog: I didn't actually add that section, but rather restored/corrected the mention of widespread use arriving with the advent of penicillin. My interest in medical history is purely non-professional so far, and I didn't question the additions by Dbhall2. Do we have anyone with specialty knowledge of medical history? When it comes to something like this which may be subject to debate I don't want to sound too authoritative only to find myself completely disproven. -- CFCF 🍌 (email) 18:31, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
@LeadSongDog:@CFCF:Based on CFCF's recommendation, I reworded to clarify arsphenamine as the start of the era of antibacterial chemotherapy. The development and use of arsphenamine was notably different from agents such as alcohol, as rather than being toxic to all cells, it is toxic to bacteria in much lower doses. Please see my reference. Please do not add penicillin back into the discussion of the first antibiotic. Penicillin was hypothesized by Fleming in 1928, but it was not isolated until after protonsil (the first sulfonamide) and not mass produced until the 1940s. Mass production of sulfonamides began in the 1930s. Sulfonamides hold a very important place in the history of pharmacology. A toxic preparation, elixir sulfanilimide, lead to 100 deaths in 1937. The U.S. government responded, in part, by forming the Food and Drug Administration. -- Dbhall2 14:43, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification, as for including penicillin it is down to what one would constitute as widespread use. I don't think it unreasonable that we mention arsphenamine, sumfonamides and penicillin as all have important roles in the history of antibiotics. To that end maybe it be best to remove the mentions of nobel prizes, or simply mention that several have been given.
As a side note I haven't seen you before Dbhall2 and I'd like to say you're very welcome to introduce yourself over at WikiProject Medicine's talk page. (There is also WikiProject:Pharmacology, but there tends to be little discussion there). -- CFCF 🍌 (email) 22:23, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
@Dbhall2:@CFCF:Some "historical article" sources to draw from: PMC 2731226, PMID 24326504, PMID 20215414, PMID 11227256. Please be careful to reflect what the best available sources say, rather than being tempted to seek out sources to support a thesis. That habit from academia does not transfer well into Wikipedia, as it leads one into original thinking. LeadSongDog come howl! 22:29, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
PMID 22439833 & PMC 3109405 also seem interesting. Maybe something on the first antibiotic resistance could be added too. Off digging sources, fleshing out on resistance was my primary reason for coming to this article. -- CFCF 🍌 (email) 22:39, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
@CFCF:@LeadSongDog:I'd agree that penicillin deserves mention in the history section, and I think it's adequately covered there. I don't think it belongs in the introductory paragraph with a description of the first antibiotic or first widely used antibiotic. There are sources that describe penicillin as the first antibiotic, but they use the obsolete definition from Waksman (see your references) of a substance made by one microbe that inhibits the growth of another microbe. Because arsphenamine (salvarsan) and sulfonamides are synthetic molecules, they don't fit that narrow definition. The history section does a good job describing the timeline. I'd say the introduction now reflects that timeline: Ehrlich comes up with the idea of a "magic bullet" that selectively targets bacterial cells, then in 1907, he finds arsphenamine, which is used clinically in the early 1900s for syphilis. In '28 Fleming hypothesizes the existence of penicillin, in 33 Domagk discovers the antibacterial effect of sulfonamides, and in the late 30s sulfonamides are mass produced and in wide use. Later penicillin is purified from penicillium mold, and then in 1944 it is mass produced by the Allies for WWII. Notably, penicillin wasn't commercially available until after the war, years after sulfonamides were in wide use.--Dbhall2 23:46, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
@CFCF:A section, or article on the history of antibiotic resistance would be fascinating! -- Dbhall2 23:58, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
@Dbhall2:What ref calls Waksman's definition "obsolete"? LeadSongDog come howl! 00:36, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
@LeadSongDog:the article defines the term as the general definition of antibiotics, "a substance used against bacteria", so as far as this article is concerned, we're not using Waksman's definition. I thought you might find it helpful to know why some sources would describe penicillin as the first antibiotic, though. Pick up any modern pharmacology textbook and you'll see synthetic antibiotics and microbial derivative antibiotics listed together in the antibiotic section. See the industry standard Goodman and Gilman [1]. Katzung is another widely used text [2]. If you use Waksman's definition, very few clinically relevant antibiotics would count. Even the antibiotics we initially discovered by isolating them from another microbe have been modified to extend their spectrum or keep up with the spread of resistance. Of note, just to double check from a primary historical source, I looked back in my first edition Goodman and Gilman when I got back from the office tonight. It was published in 1941 and describes the arsphenamine and sulfonamide timeline as discussed above, but without any reference to penicillin (as it wasn't yet clinically available). I added the first edition G&G as a reference. -- Dbhall2 01:29, 14 January 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ ISBN:9780071624428
  2. ^ ISBN:9780071451536

Article title[edit]

Hi. The terms 'antibiotic' and 'antibacterial drug' are not synonymous. Firstly, not all antibiotics are antibacterial (eg. the antibiotics nystatin and calicheamicin γ1 have antifungal and anticancer activity, respectively). Secondly, not all antibacterial drugs are antibiotics (eg. prontosil is entirely synthetic; it is not derived from a microorganism, nor is it a semi-synthetic derivative of a microbial product). Would it not be more sensible to retitle this article 'Antibacterial drug' (with searches for the term 'Antibiotic' redirecting to 'Antibacterial drug')? tH0r (talk contribs) 11:11, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

L0st_H0r!z0ns See Talk:Antibiotics/Archive_1#This_article_should_be_named_.22Antibiotics.22 and consider responding to what has already been said. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:57, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
Hi Bluerasberry. I wasn't suggesting the article be moved to 'Antibacterial'. I was suggesting it be moved to 'Antibacterial drug' or 'Antibacterial drugs'. The term 'antibacterial drugs' is more precise and less open to misunderstanding than either 'antibiotics' (which can include antifungal drugs, cytotoxic drugs etc.) or 'antibacterials' (which can include preservatives, antiseptics etc.). You previously argued that "The weight of the coverage of the topic is on antibiotics and not antibacterials." I don't disagree, but a broader view would be that the weight of the coverage of the topic is on antibacterial drugs > antibiotics > antibacterials.
To all those people arguing that WP:COMMONNAME is a reason to entitle this article 'Antibiotics', I would remind them that WP:COMMONNAME refers to the name that is most commonly used "as determined by its prevalence in reliable English-language sources". Both supporting references used to define "antibiotic" in the current (17-08-2015) version of the article (ie. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and Mosby's Medical Dictionary; paragraph 4 of the lede) state that antibiotics are either derived from microorganisms or semi-synthetic derivatives of microbial products. This definition does not reflect the current content of the article which includes info on synthetic antibacterial drugs such as prontosil. tH0r (talk contribs) 14:26, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
L0st_H0r!z0ns Everything you are saying is correct. It is an especially good observation that the title is not the best match for the content here.
This conversation could proceed, and we could talk about renaming. In the longer term, there ought to be two articles - one for antiobiotics, and one for antibacterial drug. If you want the path of least resistance, forking content or making a new article with the name you want is probably it. The reason this has not been done before is that creating a new article on this topic might be a high-barrier task.
It probably is a tough sell to argue that Wikipedia should lack an article titled "antibiotics". Would you be willing to create the article you want with the name you want? Can you think of any other way forward that does not leave Wikipedia without an article titled antibiotics? How important do you think it is that Wikipedia has an article titled "antibiotics" - previously there has been the presumption that this is a topic which needs its own article. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:05, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Hi Bluerasberry. My preference would have been to rename the article rather than have two separate articles. All of the other Wikipedia articles on anti-infective drugs focus on the target pathogen (ie. Antifungal drugs, Antiviral drugs, Antihelminthic drugs, & Antiprotozoal drugs) rather than the drug source. There aren't, for example, any Wikipedia articles on Synthetic drugs, Drugs derived from animals, or Drugs derived from plants, so why should there be a Wikipedia article dedicated to drugs derived from microorganisms? Surely, it would be better to incorporate info on antibiotics or have antibiotics sub-sections within whichever articles are appropriate. tH0r (talk contribs) 15:02, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
L0st_H0r!z0ns The issue is that there is a word, "antibiotics", which is internationally known and popularly used. There are not any commonly used terms for any of the other concepts you just described.
If you wish to propose a move, then follow the instructions at WP:RM#CM. Expect that the counterargument will be "every government's department of health uses the term 'antibiotics', and so do many textbooks and articles, so Wikipedia needs an article on this concept also". If you can explain why Wikipedia should not have an article on antibiotics then the move might work. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:57, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
Hi Bluerasberry. If you consulted a hundred medical text books or a hundred physicians and asked them what the microbial residents of the human body are called, the vast majority would say "normal flora". This is far more popular than the term "human microbiota". Nevertheless, the Wikipedia article on this topic is entitled "human microbiotia". Why? Because, regardless of its popularity, the term "normal flora" is incorrect. If you consulted a hundred football fans and asked them which country Ruud Gullit played for, or asked a hundred Quentin Tarantino fans which European country has hash bars, the vast majority would say "Holland". Nevertheless, the Wikipedia articles on this football team and country are entitled "Netherlands". Why? Because, regardless of its popularity, it is incorrect to refer to the country "Netherlands" as "Holland". Wikipedia has a proud history of choosing the term that is correct over the term that is popular. I'm disappointed that appears not to be the case for this article. Never mind. Life's too short. tH0r (talk contribs) 13:55, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
L0st_H0r!z0ns Do not blame Wikipedia for this conversation you are having with me. I am here to help. Here are some options -
  • I will process the move discussion if you write 1-2 sentences proposing the move
  • If you do not want a move discussion, you can unilaterally move the article and see what happens. That might start the discussion you want.
  • If you want other opinions besides mine, then know that I am not gatekeeper. Either ask someone else, or if you like, I will either introduce you to others or invite others here to support your idea.
I did not intend to be a barrier to what you wanted to do. I am just talking. Say the word and I will help you. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:59, 20 August 2015 (UTC)