Chemical: Drug

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Generic Names
  • Aminodeoxykanamycin
  • KAN
  • Kanamycin Base
  • Kanamycin Sulfate
  • Nebramycin Factor 5
Trade Names
  • Bekanamycin
  • Kanamycin A
  • Kanamycin B
  • Kenamycin A
  • Klebcil
Brand Mixture Names

PharmGKB Accession Id





Antibiotic complex produced by Streptomyces kanamyceticus from Japanese soil. Comprises 3 components: kanamycin A, the major component, and kanamycins B and C, the minor components.

Source: Drug Bank


For treatment of infections where one or more of the following are the known or suspected pathogens: E. coli, Proteus species (both indole-positive and indole-negative), E. aerogenes, K. pneumoniae, S. marcescens, and Acinetobacter species.

Source: Drug Bank

Other Vocabularies

Information pulled from DrugBank has not been reviewed by PharmGKB.

Pharmacology, Interactions, and Contraindications

Mechanism of Action

Aminoglycosides like kanamycin "irreversibly" bind to specific 30S-subunit proteins and 16S rRNA. Specifically Kanamycin binds to four nucleotides of 16S rRNA and a single amino acid of protein S12. This interferes with decoding site in the vicinity of nucleotide 1400 in 16S rRNA of 30S subunit. This region interacts with the wobble base in the anticodon of tRNA. This leads to interference with the initiation complex, misreading of mRNA so incorrect amino acids are inserted into the polypeptide leading to nonfunctional or toxic peptides and the breakup of polysomes into nonfunctional monosomes.

Source: Drug Bank


Kanamycin is an aminoglycoside antibiotic. Aminoglycosides work by binding to the bacterial 30S ribosomal subunit, causing misreading of t-RNA, leaving the bacterium unable to synthesize proteins vital to its growth. Aminoglycosides are useful primarily in infections involving aerobic, Gram-negative bacteria, such as Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, and Enterobacter. In addition, some mycobacteria, including the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, are susceptible to aminoglycosides. Infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria can also be treated with aminoglycosides, but other types of antibiotics are more potent and less damaging to the host. In the past the aminoglycosides have been used in conjunction with penicillin-related antibiotics in streptococcal infections for their synergistic effects, particularly in endocarditis. Aminoglycosides are mostly ineffective against anaerobic bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Source: Drug Bank

Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, Elimination & Toxicity


Kanamycin is rapidly absorbed after intramuscular injection and peak serum levels are generally reached within approximately one hour. Poor oral and topical absorption except with severe skin damage.

Source: Drug Bank


2.5 hours

Source: Drug Bank


Mild and reversible nephrotoxicity may be observed in 5 - 25% of patients. Amikacin accumulates in proximal renal tubular cells. Tubular cell regeneration occurs despite continued drug exposure. Toxicity usually occurs several days following initiation of therapy. May cause irreversible ototoxicity. Otoxocity appears to be correlated to cumulative lifetime exposure. Drug accumulation in the endolymph and perilymph of the inner ear causes irreversible damage to hair cells of the cochlea or summit of ampullar cristae in the vestibular complex. High frequency hearing is lost first with progression leading to loss of low frequency hearing. Further toxicity may lead to retrograde degeneration of the 8th cranial (vestibulocochlear) nerve. Vestibular toxicity may cause vertigo, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and loss of balance.
Oral LD50 is 17500 mg/kg in mice, over 4 g/kg in rats, and over 3 g/kg in rabbits.

Source: Drug Bank

Chemical Properties

Chemical Formula


Source: Drug Bank

Isomeric SMILES


Source: Drug Bank


Source: Drug Bank

Canonical SMILES


Source: Drug Bank

Average Molecular Weight


Source: Drug Bank

Monoisotopic Molecular Weight


Source: Drug Bank



Source: Drug Bank

InChI String


Source: Drug Bank

Genes that are associated with this drug in PharmGKB's database based on (1) variant annotations, (2) literature review, (3) pathways or (4) information automatically retrieved from DrugBank, depending on the "evidence" and "source" listed below.

No related genes are available.

Drug Interactions

Interaction Description
bumetanide - kanamycin Increased ototoxicity (source: Drug Bank )
bumetanide - kanamycin Increased ototoxicity (source: Drug Bank )
cefotaxime - kanamycin Increased risk of nephrotoxicity (source: Drug Bank )
cefotaxime - kanamycin Increased risk of nephrotoxicity (source: Drug Bank )
cefotetan - kanamycin Increased risk of nephrotoxicity (source: Drug Bank )
cefoxitin - kanamycin Increased risk of nephrotoxicity (source: Drug Bank )
cefoxitin - kanamycin Increased risk of nephrotoxicity (source: Drug Bank )
ceftazidime - kanamycin Increased risk of nephrotoxicity (source: Drug Bank )
ceftazidime - kanamycin Increased risk of nephrotoxicity (source: Drug Bank )
ethacrynic acid - kanamycin Increased ototoxicity (source: Drug Bank )
ethacrynic acid - kanamycin Increased ototoxicity (source: Drug Bank )
furosemide - kanamycin Increased ototoxicity (source: Drug Bank )
furosemide - kanamycin Increased ototoxicity (source: Drug Bank )
ticarcillin - kanamycin Ticarcillin may reduce the serum concentration of Kanamycin. Ticarcillin may inactivate Kanamycin in vitro and the two agents should not be administered simultaneously through the same IV line. (source: Drug Bank )


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Clinical Trials

These are trials that mention kanamycin and are related to either pharmacogenetics or pharmacogenomics.

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NURSA Datasets

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Sources for PharmGKB drug information: DrugBank, PubChem.