Non-Antibiotic Drug Repositioning as an Alternative Antimicrobial Approach

Antibiotics (Basel). 2022 Jun 17;11(6):816. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics11060816.


The worldwide scenario of antibiotic resistance and the falling number of funds for the development of novel antibiotics have led research efforts toward the study of specific cost-effective strategies aimed at discovering drugs against microbial infections. Among the potential options, drug repositioning, which has already exhibited satisfactory results in other medical fields, came out as the most promising. It consists of finding new uses for previously approved medicines and, over the years, many "repurposed drugs" displayed some encouraging in vitro and in vivo results beyond their initial application. The principal theoretical justification for reusing already existing drugs is that they have known mechanisms of action and manageable side effects. Reuse of old drugs is now considered an interesting approach to overcome the drawbacks of conventional antibiotics. The purpose of this review is to offer the reader a panoramic view of the updated studies concerning the repositioning process of different classes of non-antibiotic drugs in the antimicrobial field. Several research works reported the ability of some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants, antipsychotics, and statins to counteract the growth of harmful microorganisms, demonstrating an interesting winning mode to fight infectious diseases caused by antimicrobial resistant bacteria.

Keywords: antibacterial activity; antifungal activity; antimicrobial resistance; non-antibiotic agents; repositioning.

Publication types

  • Review

Grant support

This research received no external funding.