Neurotoxicity induced by beta-lactam antibiotics: from bench to bedside

  • K. M. Chow
  • A. C. Hui
  • C. C. Szeto
Review article


Central nervous system toxicity following administration of beta-lactam antibiotics, of which penicillin is the prototype, is a potential cause of morbidity and mortality. In recent years, important advances have been made in the pathogenesis of antibiotic-related neurotoxicity. This review focuses on the experimental and clinical aspects of neurotoxicity caused by beta-lactam antibiotics. The purpose is to provide an update on the pathogenesis, mechanism, and clinical manifestations of the neurotoxicity, along with an overview of the relationship between antibiotic structure and convulsive action. In particular, some of the prevailing ideas about pathogenesis are highlighted, including theories of the mechanism of pathogencity. A better understanding of antibiotic-related neurotoxicity, as derived from animal models and human clinical experience, would be of value in facilitating more efficient and safer use of antimicrobial compounds.


GABAA Receptor Nonconvulsive Status Epilepticus Thiazolidine Ring GABAA Subunit GABAA Receptor Complex 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study is supported in part by a Chinese University of Hong Kong research grant, account 6901031.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine & TherapeuticsChinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales HospitalHong Kong SARChina

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