What are antibiotics?

These powerful drugs treat many bacterial infections, but experts fear they may be prescribed in excess.

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Antibiotics are a group of prescription drugs used to treat a wide variety of infections caused by bacteria.

They are not effective against fungal or viral infections, such as a cold or the flu. There are other kinds of drugs designed to treat those infections.

There are many different classes and subclasses of antibiotics, including:

  • Penicillins, such as Amoxil and Augmentin (amoxicillin) and Unasyn (ampicillin)
  • Cephalosporins, including cefdinir, Rocephin (ceftriaxone) and Keflex (cephalexin)
  • Fluoroquinolones (“quinolones”), such as Levaquin (levofloxacin), Cipro (ciprofloxacin) and Avelox (moxifloxacin)
  • Macrolides, such as Zithromax or Z-pak (azithromycin); Ery-Tab, Akne-Mycin, E.E.S., Eryc and Pediamycin (erythromycin); And Cleocin, Cleocin T, ClindaGel and Clinda – Derm (clindamycin)
  • Tetracyclines, including tetracycline and Vibramycin (doxycycline)
  • Aminoglycosides, such as amikacin; Genoptic and Gentak (gentamicin); Aktob, Bethkis, Kitabis Pak, Tobi, Tobi Podhaler, Tobradex and Tobrex (tobramycin); And Neo-Fradin (neomycin)
  • Sulfonamides (sulphonamides), such as Septra and Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole with trimethoprim)

Not all antibiotics work the same way to fight infections.

Some antibiotics are bactericidal, which means they kill bacteria, while others are bacteriostatic, which means they prevent bacteria from breeding.

For example, aminoglycosides, cephalosporins and penicillins are bactericidal, while macrolides, tetracyclines and sulfonamides are bacteriostatic.

Warnings and Precautions

Since allergies to certain antibiotics such as penicillins and sulfamides are common, it is always a good idea to find out in which class or subclass the prescribed antibiotic is.

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, be sure to finish taking all the antibiotics you are prescribed, even if you start to feel better.

This is extremely important to make sure that the infection completely disappears.

If you can not complete the entire course of therapy, the infection may still be present, and symptoms may return.

Then, if the infection returns, it is most likely to be worse and more difficult to treat.

It is also possible that the antibiotics your doctor originally prescribed do not work as well or at all, because the bacteria may have become resistant to the original drug.

Antibiotic resistance

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a widespread and growing problem.

In fact, some antibiotics that were effective against certain infections just a few years ago are no longer useful.

Excessive use of antibiotics contributes to bacterial resistance. Resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to continue to grow, despite the presence of a particular antibiotic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have stated that “up to 50 percent of the time, antibiotics are not prescribed optimally, often when they are not needed, or with doses or duration Incorrect “.

And most antibiotics used in the United States (up to 75 percent or more) are not provided to the sick, but are given to farm animals to prevent disease and encourage growth.

Resistance can occur when antibiotics are taken for a condition that is not caused by bacteria, for example:

  • Cold
  • Flu (flu)
  • Viral Gastroenteritis (“stomach flu”)
  • Most coughs
  • Most sore throats

There is no benefit from taking antibiotics for these infections, and doing so can put you and others at risk for antibiotic-resistant infections.

General side effects

Although most people can take antibiotics successfully, the possible side effects include:

  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Stomach ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Yeast Infection
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Allergy to the drug, resulting in rash or hives
  • Severe, life-threatening inflammation due to drug sensitivity, called anaphylaxis

However, in some more severe cases, some antibiotics – such as Augmentin (amoxicillin and clavulanate) and clindamycin – can cause a very severe form of diarrhea, characterized by frequent episodes of soft and watery stools with a strong odor that is much more unpleasant than the normal.

If this happens, stop taking the antibiotic immediately and contact your doctor immediately. You may need to take a different antibiotic.

Certain antibiotics can cause side effects such as discoloration of teeth in milk teeth, hearing loss or kidney problems.

Drug interactions

Antibiotics, like most drugs, can interact with other drugs. Some, such as Zithromax or Z-Pak (azithromycin), generally do not have many drug interactions.

But other antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones and tetracyclines, do not work as well if taken at the same time as calcium, iron, antacids like Tums or Maalox, or foods like milk, cheese or nuts.

If you are taking medications or supplements that contain calcium or iron, or eating dairy foods or nuts, try taking your antibiotics a few hours before consuming any of these items.