Generic Name: Streptomycin

Streptomycin is a water-soluble aminoglycoside derived from Streptomyces griseus. It is marketed as the sulfate salt of streptomycin. The chemical name of streptomycin sulfate is D-Streptamine, O-2-deoxy-2-(methylamino)-α-L-glucopyranosyl-(1→2)-O-5-deoxy-3-C-formyl-α-L-lyxofuranosyl-(1→4)-N,N1-bis(aminoiminomethyl)-,sulfate (2:3) (salt).The molecular formula for Streptomycin Sulfate is (C21H39N7O12)2-3H2SO4 and the molecular weight is 1457.41. It has the following structural formula:

Streptomycin  Structural Formula Illustration

Streptomycin for Injection, equivalent to 1 gram streptomycin /vial is supplied as a sterile nonpyrogenic lyophillized cake for intramuscular use after reconstitution. The lyophillized cake may reduce to a powder during shipping.

After reconstitution the pH range for Streptomycin for Injection should be between 4.5 and 7.0 in a solution containing 200 mg of streptomycin activity per mL.

No health feed found.

Streptomycin is a protein synthesis inhibitor. It binds to the small 16S rRNA of the 30S subunit of the bacterial ribosome, interfering with the binding of formyl-methionyl-tRNA to the 30S subunit. This leads to codon misreading, eventual inhibition of protein synthesis and ultimately death of microbial cells through mechanisms that are still not understood. Speculation on this mechanism indicates that the binding of the molecule to the 30S subunit interferes with 50S subunit association with the mRNA strand. This results in an unstable ribosomal-mRNA complex, leading to a frameshift mutation and defective protein synthesis; leading to cell death. Humans have ribosomes which are structurally different from those in bacteria, so the drug does not have this effect in human cells. At low concentrations, however, streptomycin only inhibits growth of the bacteria by inducing prokaryotic ribosomes to misread mRNA. Streptomycin is an antibiotic that inhibits both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and is therefore a useful broad-spectrum antibiotic.


  • Infective endocarditis caused by enterococcus when the organism is not sensitive to gentamicin
  • Tuberculosis in combination with other antibiotics. For active tuberculosis it is often given together with isoniazid, rifampicin, and pyrazinamide. It is not the first-line treatment, except in medically under-served populations where the cost of more expensive treatments is prohibitive. It may be useful in cases where resistance to other drugs is identified.
  • Plague (Yersinia pestis) has historically been treated with it as the first-line treatment. However streptomycin is approved for this purpose only by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • In veterinary medicine, streptomycin is the first-line antibiotic for use against gram negative bacteria in large animals (horses, cattle, sheep, etc.). It is commonly combined with procaine penicillin for intramuscular injection.
  • Tularemia infections have been treated mostly with streptomycin.

Streptomycin is traditionally given intramuscularly, and in many nations is only licensed to be administered intramuscularly, though in some regions the drug may also be administered intravenously.


Streptomycin also is used as a pesticide, to combat the growth of bacteria beyond human applications. Streptomycin controls bacterial diseases of certain fruit, vegetables, seed, and ornamental crops. A major use is in the control of fireblight on apple and pear trees. As in medical applications, extensive use can be associated with the development of resistant strains. Streptomycin could potentially be used to control cyanobacterial blooms in ornamental ponds and aquaria. While some antibacterial antibiotics are inhibitory to certain eukaryotes, this seems not to be the case for streptomycin, especially in the case of anti-fungal activity.

Cell culture

Streptomycin, in combination with penicillin, is used in a standard antibiotic cocktail to prevent bacterial infection in cell culture.

Protein purification

When purifying protein from a biological extract, streptomycin sulfate is sometimes added as a means of removing nucleic acids. Since it binds to ribosomes and precipitates out of solution, it serves as a method for removing rRNA, mRNA, and even DNA if the extract is from a prokaryote.

The following reactions are common: vestibular ototoxicity (nausea, vomiting, and vertigo); paraesthesia of face; rash; fever; urticaria; angioneurotic enema; and eosinophilia.

The following reactions are less frequent: cochlear ototoxicity (deafness); exfoliative dermatitis; anaphylaxis; 

  •         azotemia
  •         leucopenia
  •          thrombocytopenia
  •          pancytopenia
  •          hemolytic anemia
  •          muscular weakness
  •          amblyopia.

Vestibular dysfunction resulting from the parenteral administration of streptomycin is cumulatively related to the total daily dose. When 1.8 to 2 g/day are given, symptoms are likely to develop in the large percentage of patients - especially in the elderly or patients with impaired renal function - within four weeks. Therefore, it is recommended that caloric and audiometric tests be done prior to, during, and following intensive therapy with streptomycin in order to facilitate detection of any vestibular dysfunction and/or impairment of hearing which may occur.

Vestibular symptoms generally appear early and usually are reversible with early detection and cessation of streptomycin administration. Two to three months after stopping the drug, gross vestibular symptoms usually disappear, except from the relative inability to walk in total darkness or on very rough terrain.

Although streptomycin is the least nephrotoxic of the aminoglycosides, nephrotoxicity does occur rarely.

Clinical judgment as to termination of therapy must be exercised when side effects occur.

AdultsThe preferred site is the upper outer quadrant of the buttock, (i.e., gluteus maximus), or the mid-lateral thigh.

ChildrenIt is recommended that intramuscular injections be given preferably in the mid-lateral muscles of the thigh. In infants and small children the periphery of the upper outer quadrant of the gluteal region should be used only when necessary, such as in burn patients, in order to minimize the possibility of damage to the sciatic nerve.

All drugs interact differently for person to person. You should check all the possible interactions with your doctor before starting any medicine.

Interaction with Alcohol

  • Description - Interaction with alcohol is unknown. It is advisable to consult your doctor before consumption.
  • Instructions - Interaction with alcohol is unknown. It is advisable to consult your doctor before consumption.

Interaction with Medicine

  • Colistin
  • Furosemide
  • Neuromuscular blockers
  • Antiretroviral drugs

Disease interactions

  • Dehydration


Consume an adequate amount of water to prevent kidney injury and hearing problems. Fluid status should be monitored closely, especially in patients with severe diarrhea and vomiting who are receiving Streptomycin. Frequent monitoring of kidney function is necessary while receiving this medicine. Appropriate dose adjustments should be made based on the clinical condition of the patient.

You are advised to take this medicine only in the presence of a trained healthcare professional. Strictly follow the instructions on the label and take Streptomycin only as directed. Drink plenty of water to avoid kidney damage. Do not take more than what is prescribed or share this medication with other people. It is advised that you should inform the doctor about all the medicines or herbal products that you are using and about all your medical conditions before taking this medicine.

Ototoxicity: Both vestibular and auditory dysfunction can follow the administration of streptomycin. The degree of impairment is directly proportional to the dose and duration of streptomycin administration, to the age of the patient, to the level of renal function and to the amount of underlying existing auditory dysfunction. The ototoxic effects of the aminoglycosides, including streptomycin, are potentiated by the co-administration of ethacrynic acid, mannitol, furosemide and possibly other diuretics.

The vestibulotoxic potential of streptomycin exceeds that of its capacity for cochlear toxicity. Vestibular damage is heralded by headache, nausea, vomiting and disequilibrium. Early cochlear injury is demonstrated by the loss of high frequency hearing. Appropriate monitoring and early discontinuation of the drug may permit recovery prior to irreversible damage to the sensorineural cells.

Pregnancy: Streptomycin can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Because streptomycin readily crosses the placental barrier, caution in use of the drug is important to prevent ototoxicity in the foetus. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.

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