I am going to do a few short posts on MRSA over the next couple of weeks, explaining my thoughts on this bacterium and also exploding a few myths surrounding this so-called “superbug”.
So what is MRSA? (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)
Or to be more precise, what is methicillin?
Methicillin was first produced commercially in 1959 by Beecham pharmaceuticals. Its main advantage over its predecessors was its activity against penicillinase producing strains of Staphylococcus aureus.
Methicillin is no longer used these days to treat patients. Compared to other β-lactamase-resistant penicillins, it is less active, can only be administered parenterally, and has a higher frequency of interstitial nephritis, an otherwise rare side effect of penicillins.
I think they stopped producing methicillin commercially around the mid 90s, I am not sure exactly when, and it has since been superseded by flucloxacillin and dicloxacillin.
The name “Methicillin” will not mean much to younger scientists and doctors. Maybe a better name these days for MRSA would be BRSA, reflecting its resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics…..