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Trade namesTygacil
  • N-[(5aR,6aS,7S,9Z,10aS)-9-(amino-hydroxy-methylidene)-4,7-bis(dimethylamino)-1,10a,12-trihydroxy-8,10,11-trioxo-5a,6,6a,7-tetrahydro-5H-tetracen-2-yl]-2-(tert-butylamino) acetamide[1]
Clinical data
Drug classTetracycline antibiotic[2]
Main usesIntra abdominal infections, pneumonia, skin and skin structure infections[2]
Side effectsNausea, diarrhea, sunburns, pancreatitis, liver problems, anaphylaxis[2]
WHO AWaReReserve
  • AU: D[3]
  • US: D (Evidence of risk)[3]
Routes of
Intravenous (IV)
External links
License data
Legal status
Protein binding71–89%
MetabolismNot metabolized
Elimination half-life42.4 hours
Excretion59% Bile, 33% kidney
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass585.658 g·mol−1
3D model (JSmol)
  • CC(C)(C)NCC(=O)Nc1cc(c2C[C@H]3C[C@H]4[C@H](N(C)C)C(\O)=C(\C(N)=O)C(=O)[C@@]4(O)C(/O)=C3/C(=O)c2c1O)N(C)C
  • InChI=1S/C29H39N5O8/c1-28(2,3)31-11-17(35)32-15-10-16(33(4)5)13-8-12-9-14-21(34(6)7)24(38)20(27(30)41)26(40)29(14,42)25(39)18(12)23(37)19(13)22(15)36/h10,12,14,21,31,36,38-39,42H,8-9,11H2,1-7H3,(H2,30,41)(H,32,35)/t12-,14-,21-,29-/m0/s1 checkY

Tigecycline, sold under the brand name Tygacil, is a tetracycline antibiotic used for a number of bacterial infections.[2] This includes intra abdominal infections, pneumonia, and skin and skin structure infections.[2] Use is only recommended when other antibiotics are not suitable, as it is less effective.[4][2] It is given by injection into a vein.[4]

Common side effects include nausea and diarrhea.[2] Other side effects may include sunburns, pancreatitis, liver problems, Clostridioides difficile infection, and anaphylaxis.[2] Use during pregnancy may damage the babies bones or teeth.[2][6] It is a glycylcycline and works by blocking the bacteria’s ribosomes.[2][4]

Tigecycline was approved for medical use in the United States in 2005 and Europe in 2006.[7][4] It was removed from the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines in 2019.[8][9] The World Health Organization classifies it as critically important for human medicine.[10] It is available as a generic medication.[6] A five day course of treatment costs about 800 USD in the United States as of 2021.[11] In the United Kingdom this amount costs the NHS £290.[6]

Medical uses

Tigecycline is used to treat different kinds of bacterial infections, including complicated skin and structure infections, complicated intra-abdominal infections and community-acquired bacterial pneumonia. Tigecycline is a glycylcycline antibiotic that covers MRSA and Gram-negative organisms:

Tigecycline is given intravenously and has activity against a variety of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial pathogens, many of which are resistant to existing antibiotics. Tigecycline successfully completed phase III trials in which it was at least equal to intravenous vancomycin and aztreonam to treat complicated skin and skin structure infections, and to intravenous imipenem and cilastatian to treat complicated intra-abdominal infections.[13] Tigecycline is active against many Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria and anaerobes – including activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Haemophilus influenzae, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (with MIC values reported at 2 µg/mL) and multi-drug resistant strains of Acinetobacter baumannii. It has no activity against Pseudomonas spp. or Proteus spp. The drug is licensed for the treatment of skin and soft tissue infections as well as intra-abdominal infections.

The European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection recommends tigecycline as a potential salvage therapy for severe and/or complicated or refractory Clostridium difficile infection.[14]

Tigecycline can also be used in vulnerable populations such as immunocompromised patients or patients with cancer.[14] Tigecycline may also have potential for use in acute myeloid leukemia.[15]

Susceptibility data

Tigecycline targets both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria including a few key multi-drug resistant pathogens. The following represents MIC susceptibility data for a few medically significant bacterial pathogens.

  • Escherichia coli: 0.015 μg/mL — 4 μg/mL
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae: 0.06 μg/mL — 16 μg/mL
  • Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-resistant): 0.03 μg/mL — 2 μg/mL[16]

Tigecycline generally has poor activity against most strains of Pseudomonas.[17]

Liver or kidney problems

Tigecycline does not require dose adjustment for people with mild to moderate liver problems. However, in people with severe liver problems dosing should be decreased and closely monitored.[12]

Tigecycline does not require dose changes in people with poor kidney function or having hemodialysis.[12]


It is given at an initial dose of 100 mg.[4] This is followed by 50 mg twice per day for 5 to 14 days.[4]

Side effects

a) Increased skin pigmentation after 2.5 months of tigecylcine b) before starting of treatment (after surgery of the jaw)[18]

As a tetracycline derivative, tigecycline exhibits similar side effects to the class of antibiotics. Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are the most common reported side effect.[14]

Common side effects of tigecycline include nausea and vomiting.[19] Nausea (26%) and vomiting (18%) tend to be mild or moderate and usually occur during the first two days of therapy.[5]

Rare adverse effects (<2%) include: swelling, pain, and irritation at injection site, anorexia, jaundice, hepatic dysfunction, pruritus, acute pancreatitis, and increased prothrombin time.[5]


Precaution is needed when taken in individuals with tetracycline hypersensitivity, pregnant women, and children. It has been found to cause fetal harm when administered during pregnancy and therefore is classified as pregnancy category D.[12] In rats or rabbits, tigecycline crossed the placenta and was found in the fetal tissues, and is associated with slightly lower birth weights as well as slower bone ossification. Even though it was not considered teratogenic, tigecycline should be avoided unless benefits outweigh the risks.[5] In addition, its use during childhood can cause yellow-grey-brown discoloration of the teeth and should not be used unless necessary.

More so, there are clinical reports of tigecycline-induced acute pancreatitis, with particular relevance to patients also diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.[20]

Tigecycline showed an increased mortality in patients treated for hospital-acquired pneumonia, especially ventilator-associated pneumonia (a non-approved use), but also in patients with complicated skin and skin structure infections, complicated intra-abdominal infections and diabetic foot infection.[5] Increased mortality was in comparison to other treatment of the same types of infections. The difference was not statistically significant for any type, but mortality was numerically greater for every infection type with Tigecycline treatment, and prompted a black box warning by the FDA.[21][22]

Black box warning

The FDA issued a black box warning in September 2010, for tigecycline regarding an increased risk of death compared to other appropriate treatment.[21][5][23] As a result of increase in total death rate (cause is unknown) in individuals taking this drug, tigecycline is reserved for situations in which alternative treatment is not suitable.[12][23] The FDA updated the black box warning in 2013.[22]


Tigecycline has been found to interact with medications, such as:

  • Warfarin: Since both tigecycline and warfarin bind to serum or plasma proteins, there is potential for protein-binding interactions, such that one drug will have more effect than the other. Although dose adjustment is not necessary, INR and prothrombin time should be monitored if given concurrently.[24]
  • Oral contraceptives: Effectiveness of oral contraceptives are decreased with concurrent use due to reduction in the concentration levels of oral contraceptives.

However, the mechanism behind these drug interactions have not been fully analyzed.[5]

Mechanism of action

Tigecycline is broad-spectrum antibiotic that acts as a protein synthesis inhibitor. It exhibits bacteriostatic activity by binding to the 30S ribosomal subunit of bacteria and thereby blocking the interaction of aminoacyl-tRNA with the A site of the ribosome.[25] In addition, tigecycline has demonstrated bactericidal activity against isolates of S. pneumoniae and L. pneumophila.[5]

It is a third-generation tetracycline derivative within a class called glycylcyclines which carry a N,N-dimethyglycylamido (DMG) moiety attached to the 9-position of tetracycline ring D.[26] With structural modifications as a 9-DMG derivative of minocycline, tigecycline has been found to improve minimal inhibitory concentrations against Gram-negative and Gram-positive organisms, when compared to tetracyclines.[26]

Resistance mechanisms

Bacterial resistance towards tigecycline in Enterobacteriaceae (such as E. coli) is often caused by genetic mutations leading to an up-regulation of bacterial efflux pumps, such as the RND type efflux pump AcrAB. Some bacterial species such as Pseudomonas spp. can be naturally resistant to tigecycline through the constant over-expression of such efflux pumps. In some Enterobacteriaceae species, mutations in ribosomal genes such as rpsJ have been found to cause resistance to tigecycline.[27]


Tigecycline is metabolized through glucuronidation into glucuronide conjugates and N-acetyl-9-aminominocycline metabolite.[28] Therefore, dose adjustments are needed for patients with severe hepatic impairment.[5] More so, it is primarily eliminated unchanged in the feces and secondarily eliminated by the kidneys.[28] No renal adjustments are necessary.


It was developed in response to the growing rate of antibiotic resistant bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter baumannii, and E. coli.[29]

Society and culture


It is approved to treat complicated skin and soft tissue infections (cSSTI), complicated intra-abdominal infections (cIAI), and community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CAP) in individuals 18 years and older.[29][30][28][5] In the United Kingdom it is approved in adults and in children from the age of eight years for the treatment of complicated skin and soft tissue infections (excluding diabetic foot infections) and complicated intra-abdominal infections in situations where other alternative antibiotics are not suitable.[31]

Other names

  • GAR-936[32]
  • Tygacil
  • Tigeplug (marketed by Biocon, India)
  • Tigilyn (Marketed by Real Value therapy pharmaceuticals company in Myanmar, Manufactured by Lyka)


  1. "EP2181330". European Patent Office. Archived from the original on 9 August 2020. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 "Tigecycline Monograph for Professionals". Drugs.com. Archived from the original on 30 August 2021. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
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External links

External sites: