March 23, 2018

Researchers Discover Schizophrenia Drug Kills Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

The fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria is in the news every day. Politicians are introducing bills in Congress to force the government to curtail the non therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animals, and organizations are releasing studies showing that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are on the meat we buy in supermarkets across the country. So the news that an old drug used to treat schizophrenia can kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria comes as a pleasant surprise.

Petri DishA study from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine (TDZ) works by making the bacteria’s cell walls weaker. This lets antibiotics attack the weakened area and kill the bacteria.

Scientists have known that TDZ helps antibiotics kill bacteria, but they didn’t know the mechanism until now. TDZ sensitizes bacteria to several different classes of antimicrobial medicines. Now that researchers know how the drug works, they can develop drugs using parts of TDZ to develop new medications to fight these bacteria. When scientists have tinkered with the drug, it will no longer be considered an antipsychotic medication.

At this time, the drug has been tested only on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. But any breakthrough in the treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections is an important step in the fight against this emerging problem.

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