What Are Sulfonamides?
Cody arrives at his primary care doctor's office with an earache. After a thorough examination, his doctor states he has an ear infection and wants to prescribe him Bactrim. Cody's doctor then asks if he has ever had an allergic reaction to any sulfonamide medications, and that Bactrim is classified as a sulfonamide antibiotic. Confused by what a sulfonamide is, Cody asks his doctor for more clarification.
Sulfonamides are a synthetic substance created from the sulfonamide chemical group. They are used as a medication to treat a variety of illnesses and conditions. Sulfonamide medications are supplied as oral tablets, oral liquids, or even injections, and require a physician's prescription.
There are generally thought to be two major classifications of sulfonamide medications based upon their chemical structure. Most commonly they're bacteriostatic antibiotic medications, which work by inhibiting bacteria from multiplying, but they don't kill the existing bacteria. Sulfonamides are often combined with trimethoprim, which acts as a bactericidal agent, meaning it kills bacteria.
Other types of sulfonamides do not have antibacterial properties. These can be classified under carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAIs), thiazide diuretics, loop diuretics, cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) inhibitors, and sulfonylureas.
CA inhibitors are primarily used to treat glaucoma (damage to the optic nerve in the eye) by reducing fluid pressure in the eye. Zonisamide, another sulfonamide, is also considered a CA inhibitor but is used to treat seizures. The exact mechanism of action of zonisamide is not fully understood.
Thiazide diuretics are used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and help lower blood pressure by causing diuresis, or increased urination. Similarly, loop diuretics are used to treat hypertension due to heart failure. They also cause diuresis but by a different mechanism than thiazide diuretics.
COX-2 inhibitors are a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication and are used to treat pain and inflammation by altering the COX-2 enzymes in the body that are responsible for pain and inflammation symptoms.
Finally, sulfonylureas are used to help manage type 2 diabetes. They help lower the blood sugar level in the body by telling the pancreas to release more insulin.
Examples of Sulfonamides
Here are some general examples of sulfonamides:
- Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim)
- Gansitrin (sulfisoxazole)
Here are some CA Inhibitors:
- Zonegran (Zonisamide medication)
Here are some thiazide diuretics:
- Hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide)
Furosemide is an example of a loop diuretic. Celecoxib is an example of a COX-2 inhibitor. And, finally, chlorpropamide is an example of a sulfonylurea.
All right, let's take a moment or two to review. Cody now has a better idea of what a sulfonamide medication is. Sulfonamides are synthetic medications created from the sulfonamide chemical group. One of the two basic classifications of sulfonamides include bacteriostatic antibiotics, which are used to treat bacterial infections by inhibiting bacteria from multiplying.
We also learned that the other group of sulfonamides are not antibacterial and include carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAIs), thiazide diuretics, loop diuretics, COX-2 inhibitors, and sulfonylureas. CAI medications are used to treat glaucoma, a disease in the eye. Diuretics are often used to treat hypertension. COX-2 inhibitors are a group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications used to treat pain and inflammation. Lastly, sulfonylureas are used to manage type 2 diabetes by helping to lower blood sugar levels.
Because of the variety of illnesses that sulfonamides are used to treat, it is important for patients to talk with their doctors so they know the exact medications they are taking and what their purposes are.
Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is for your information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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Sulfonamides: Word Scramble Activity
In this activity, you'll check your knowledge regarding the definition, classification, and examples of sulfonamides.
For this activity, study the scrambled letters and unscramble or rearrange the letters to form a word or phrase that fits the given clues. To do this, you must right-click and print this page. With a pencil and an eraser, neatly write your answers in the appropriate blank spaces in the clues.
- CISEATRTABTCIO, ISNHIBTI
- SNILUIN, ACANRPES
- IUFDL RUSEEPRS
- __________ are a group of medicines used to treat a variety of illnesses and conditions, including bacterial infections, high blood pressure, heart failure, etc.
- __________ drugs are a type of medication that __________ the growth of bacteria.
- Thiazide diuretics help regulate blood pressure by causing increased __________.
- COX-2 inhibitors impede the production of COX-2 enzymes, which are the main cause of pain and __________.
- Sulfonylureas lower the blood sugar level by increasing the release of __________ from the __________.
- Zonisamide is used with other medications to treat and control __________.
- CA inhibitors are used to reduce the __________ in the eye.
- Loop diuretics can trigger diuresis and are utilized to treat __________ due to heart failure.
- Bacteriostatic, inhibits
- insulin, pancreas
- fluid pressure
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