1. Penicillin was the greatest scientific discovery of the 19th century.
• An accidental discovery by Sir Alexander Fleming (a Scottish bacteriologist) in 1928 while he was on his experiment with a colony of germs in a petri dish which he accidentally left uncovered that gets contaminated.
• From there, it was extracted and purified for mass production of the drug sponsored and funded by the government of the United States.
2. Penicillin made a remarkable name in World War II.
• From the huge advances in medicine, penicillin has been described as a “miracle drug” which saved millions of lives and creates its value throughout history.
• Soldiers from World War II were getting ill and dying from their wounds infected by bacteria while some are losing limbs from amputation due to gas gangrene.
• Wartime deaths were significantly decreased with antibiotic treatment.
3. Penicillin comes from fungi.
• As early as 1500 BC, the use of fungus has been already practiced in Chinese medicine with the use of yeast and molds placed over wounds of the people for its healing property.
• It is derived from the genus of fungus Penicillium called the Penicillium notatum, a gram-positive organism.
4. Penicillin is an essential part of the modern medicine.
• It is widely used class of antibiotic drugs next to over-the-counter analgesics.
• The emergence of penicillin serves as the major bridge towards the avenue in the creation of antibiotics.
• Several researches succeeded from the study of the bacterial structure to produce synthetic penicillin for commercial use.
• Every antibiotic purchased from pharmaceuticals owes its existence to penicillin.
5. Penicillin has several types which treat varieties of infections.
• Penicillin making uses a contrast medium and the process of fermentation.
• The antibacterial property of penicillin is not intended for treatment of disease with viral cause.
• It is classified under the group of antibiotics called beta-lactam antibiotics.
• It is effective on bacteria-causing organisms that work by disrupting the synthesis and eventually destroying the bacteria’s cell wall.
6. Penicillin may cause hypersensitivity reaction.
• Though, it is generally safe, penicillin can cause allergic reaction which may range from mild to severe and the onset may be immediate or delayed.
• Serious reactions may arise from intravenous penicillin infusion.
• Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening complication from adverse reaction to intravenous penicillin.
• It is characterized by bronchospasm, hypotension and vascular collapse (cardio respiratory arrest).
• Without prompt attention death may occur.
• A thorough history taking on drug allergies of the patient should be done to identify risk of hypersensitivity reaction.
• Penicillin skin sensitivity is also helpful to confirm safe administration of the drug.
7. Penicillin has high sodium content.
• Penicillin therapy should be used cautiously with patients who are in sodium-restricted diet.
• It is primarily excreted in the urine.
• Due to high concentration of sodium and potassium, it may cause renal tubular damage if used inadvertently.
8. Penicillin may cause metabolic alkalosis.
• It is condition where pH of arterial blood is abnormally high.
• With massive dosage of penicillin, potassium is not reabsorbed in the renal tubules and is loss concomitantly.
• Concurrently administering potassium-sparing diuretic while on penicillin therapy help to prevent potassium depletion.
9. Penicillin may interact with other medicines.
• Synthetic penicillin products are available in different dosages and route of administration (oral, injection or intravenous infusion).
• Penicillin (like rifampicin) has a great potential to interfere and decreases the effectiveness of birth control pills.
10. Penicillin resistance of bacteria is evolving quickly.
• Pen G is a narrow spectrum antibiotic than can be destroyed by the acidic property of gastric juices.
• This drug is beneficial only for patient with proven infections; Otherwise it may increase the patient’s risk of development of drug-resistant bacteria.
• Unnecessary use of the drug may lead to this phenomenon.