Antimicrobial and Synergistic Effects of Commercial Piperine and Piperlongumine in Combination with Conventional Antimicrobials

Antibiotics (Basel). 2019 May 4;8(2):55. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics8020055.


Microbial resistance to currently available antibiotics is a public health problem in the fight against infectious diseases. Most antibiotics are characterized by numerous side effects that may be harmful to normal body cells. To improve the efficacy of these antibiotics and to find an alternative way to minimize the adverse effects associated with most conventional antibiotics, piperine and piperlongumine were screened in combination with conventional rifampicin, tetracycline, and itraconazole to evaluate their synergistic, additive, or antagonistic interactions against Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Candida albicans. The fractional inhibitory concentration index was used to estimate the synergistic effects of various combination ratios of the piperamides and antibiotics against the bacterial and fungal strains. Both piperine and piperlongumine showed synergistic effects against S. aureus when combined at various ratios with rifampicin. Synergistic interaction was also observed with piperine in combination with tetracycline against S. aureus, while antagonistic interaction was recorded for piperlongumine and tetracycline against S. aureus. All the piperamide/antibacterial combinations tested against P. aeruginosa showed antagonistic effects, with the exception of piperine and rifampicin, which recorded synergistic interaction at a ratio of 9:1 rifampicin/piperine. No synergistic interaction was observed when the commercial compounds were combined with itraconazole and tested against C. albicans. The results showed that piperine and piperlongumine are capable of improving the effectiveness of rifampicin and tetracycline. Dosage combinations of these bioactive compounds with the antibiotics used may be a better option for the treatment of bacterial infections that aims to minimize the adverse effects associated with the use of these conventional antibacterial drugs.

Keywords: antibacterial; antifungal; piperine; piperlongumine; synergy.