Clinical data
AHFS/ International Drug Names
MedlinePlus a693021
Routes of
ATC code J01CG01 (WHO)
Legal status
Legal status
  • UK: POM (Prescription only)
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 1
Excretion Kidneys?
CAS Number 68373-14-8 YesY
PubChem (CID) 130313
ChemSpider 115306 YesY
UNII S4TF6I2330 YesY
KEGG D08533 YesY
ECHA InfoCard 100.063.506
Chemical and physical data
Formula C8H11NO5S
Molar mass 233.243 g/mol
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image

Sulbactam is a β-lactamase inhibitor. This drug is given in combination with β-lactam antibiotics to inhibit β-lactamase, an enzyme produced by bacteria that destroys the antibiotics. [1]


Sulbactam is an irreversible inhibitor of β-lactamase; it binds to the enzyme and does not allow it to degrade the antibiotic.


Sulbactam is able to inhibit the most common forms of β-lactamase but is not able to interact with the AmpC cephalosporinase. Thus, it confers little protection against bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Citrobacter, Enterobacter, and Serratia, which often express this gene.

In the United States, sulbactam is combined to form cefoperazone/sulbactam and ampicillin/sulbactam. It does possess some antibacterial activity when administered alone, but it is too weak to have any clinical importance. Its use in the UK is restricted to hospitals.

Recently, its use in treating Acinetobacter septicemia is receiving renewed interest.

See also


  1. Totir MA, Helfand MS, Carey MP, et al. (August 2007). "Sulbactam forms only minimal amounts of irreversible acrylate-enzyme with SHV-1 beta-lactamase". Biochemistry. 46 (31): 8980–7. doi:10.1021/bi7006146. PMC 2596720Freely accessible. PMID 17630699.

Further reading

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