Essay by meatUniversity, Master'sA+, November 2003

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Ampicillin is a prescription drug used to treat bacterial infections. It is in the Antibiotic/Anti-infective drug family known as the Penicillins. Ampicillin is prescribed less frequently today than in the past because of advances in chemical engineering, though many of the most commonly prescribed penicillin-like drugs used today are analogues of Ampicillin.

Like the other antibiotics in the Penicillin family, Ampicillin works by inhibiting synthesis of products used for construction of the bacterial cell wall. The primary effect of the drug is inhibition of the biosynthesis of cell wall mucopeptide. This makes the bacteria unable to produce a cell wall, causing the death of the organism.

Ampicillin is a 'semisynthetic' penicillin. It is a type of antibiotic called an aminopenicillin. It is derived from the 6-aminopenicillanic acid found in the penicillin nucleus (figure 2). When undergoing synthesis into Ampicillin, one of the hydrogen atoms from the amine group is replaced with a carbon bond.

Ampicillin was one of the first orally active semisynthetic penicillins. It was introduced in 1961 and for many years was the most frequently prescribed drug in developed countries.

Ampicillin affects many different strains of microorganisms. Nowadays, the most common reason for prescription of this drug is for treatment of urinary tract infections. (Columbia Encyclopedia). It has a broad spectrum effect against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. This is due to an electron-withdrawing amino group in a side chain of the benzylpenicillin ring.

Ampicillin has a chemical formula of C16H19N3O4S*3H2O. Its molecular weight is 403.45amu. The chemical designation of Ampicillin is (2S, 5R, 6R)-6-[(8)-2-Amino-2-phenylacetamido]-3,3-dimethyl-t-oxo-4-thia-1- azabicyclo[3.2.0] heptane-2-carboxylic acid.

A major drawback of Ampicillin is that it contains this penicillin core, which is susceptible to penicillinase; an enzyme which binds to the molecule changing its structure, and consequently, destroys its function as an antibiotic. Ampicillin has...