Drug repurposing is an attractive strategy for developing new antibacterial molecules. Herein, we evaluated the in vitro antibacterial, antibiofilm, and antivirulence activities of eight FDA-approved “non-antibiotic” drugs, comparatively to tobramycin, against selected Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains from cystic fibrosis patients. MIC and MBC values were measured by broth microdilution method. Time–kill kinetics was studied by the macro dilution method, and synergy studies were performed by checkerboard microdilution assay. The activity against preformed biofilms was measured by crystal violet and viable cell count assays. The effects on gene expression were studied by real-time quantitative PCR, while the cytotoxic potential was evaluated against IB3-1 bronchial CF cells. Ciclopirox, 5-fluorouracil, and actinomycin D showed the best activity against P. aeruginosa planktonic cells and therefore underwent further evaluation. Time–kill assays indicated actinomycin D and ciclopirox, contrarily to 5-fluorouracil and tobramycin, have the potential for bacterial eradication, although with strain-dependent efficacy. Ciclopirox was the most effective against the viability of the preformed biofilm. A similar activity was observed for other drugs, although they stimulate extracellular polymeric substance production. Ribavirin showed a specific antibiofilm effect, not dependent on bacterial killing. Exposure to drugs and tobramycin generally caused hyperexpression of the virulence traits tested, except for actinomycin D, which downregulated the expression of alkaline protease and alginate polymerization. Ciclopirox and actinomycin D revealed high cytotoxic potential. Ciclopirox and ribavirin might provide chemical scaffolds for anti-P. aeruginosa drugs. Further studies are warranted to decrease ciclopirox cytotoxicity and evaluate the in vivo protective effects.
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