The Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), which had been scheduled for this week, was postponed until Dec. 16-19 in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack. However, a look through the abstract catalog showed several areas to watch.

These include an FDA report on adverse events with two classes of antibiotics; revelations about the mechanism of action of Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s Daptomycin; anti-hepatitis B compounds from Bayer AG; and reports by Microcide Pharmaceuticals Inc. on the therapeutic leverage being seen with its efflux pump inhibitors.

Antibiotics and arrhythmias

A new review from the FDA indicates that two widely used classes of bactericidal antibiotics, macrolides and fluoroquinolones, may be associated with severe cardiac adverse events. While it is unlikely that physicians will decrease their use of the agents, pharmacogenomic studies could be pursued to try to prospectively identify patients at risk for the arrhythmia.