What Is the Mode of Action of Streptomycin?

Streptomycin is classified as an aminoglycoside antibiotic that acts by stopping the production of important proteins that bacteria need to survive. It is used to treat infections like tuberculosis, plague, tularemia and other infections involving the heart, respiratory system and urinary tract.

Streptomycin is usually given as an injection at a doctor's office, clinic or hospital. The preferred site of injection for adults is the middle of the thigh or the upper area of the buttock, with sites being alternated for each injection. It is best to use streptomycin for the full course of treatment, even if symptoms improve. Stopping streptomycin too soon may lead to a recurrent infection or cause the bacteria to become resistant to streptomycin.

Common side effects of treatment with streptomycin include nausea, vomiting, vertigo, rash and fever. Streptomycin may also cause abnormal sensations in the skin around the face. Contacting a physician is recommended if these side effects are severe or persistent. More serious side effects, such as hives, difficulty breathing, chest tightness and swelling of the face, lips or mouth, require immediate medical care. Other serious side effects include decreased urination, hearing loss, balance problems, ringing in the ears and vaginal irritation or discharge.