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Antibiotics Briana Kim
Defining Antibiotics • Antibiotics, also known as antibacterials, are types of medications that destroy or slow down the growth of bacteria. • The Greek word anti means “against”, and the Greek word bios means “life” (bacteria are life forms). • Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria, which are microscopic organisms that can cause illness.
When Do We Need Antibiotics? • Before bacteria can multiply and cause symptoms, the body’s immune system can usually destroy them. • People have special white blood cells (WBCs) that attack harmful bacteria. • Even if symptoms occur, our immune system can usually cope and fight off the infection. • However, there are occasions when it is too much and some help is needed from antibiotics.
What Was the First Antibiotic? • Penicillin • Penicillin-related drugs: • Ampicillin • Amoxicillin • Benzylpenicillins • Penicillin-related antibiotics are widely used today to treat a variety of infections and have been around for a long time. • There are several different types of modern antibiotics and they are only available with a doctor’s prescription in industrialized countries.
Worldwide Issues Regarding Antibiotics • There is a concern that antibiotics are being overused. Antibiotic overuse is one of the factors that contribute towards an increasing number of bacterial infections that are becoming resistant to antibacterial medications. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), outpatient antibiotic overuse in the United States is a particular problem in the Southeast.
Worldwide Issues Regarding Antibiotics • According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), antibiotic resistance continues to be a serious public health threat worldwide. On November 19, 2012, the ECDC informed that an estimated 25,000 people die each year in the European Union (EU) from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. • New ECDC data has shown that there has been a considerable increase over the last years of combined resistance to multiple antibiotics in E. coli and Klebsiellapneumoniae in over one third of EU and European Economic Area (EEA) nations. Consumption of carbapenems, a major class of last-line antibiotics increased significantly from 2007 to 2010.
How Do Antibiotics Work • Even though there are many different types of antibiotics, they all work in one of two ways: • A bactericidal antibiotic kills the bacteria and either interferes with the formation of the bacterium’s cell wall or its cell contents. • Example: Penciillin • A bacteriostatic antibiotic stops bacteria from multiplying
What Are Antibiotics For? • An antibiotic is used for treating an infection caused by bacteria. Antibiotics target microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and parasites. However, they are not effective against viruses. If a person has an infection, it is important to know whether it is caused by bacteria or a virus. Most upper respiratory tract infections like the common cold and sore throats are generally caused by viruses, which means that antibiotics don’t work against these viruses.
When Can Someone become Antibiotic Resistant? • If antibiotics are overused or used incorrectly, there is a chance that the bacterial will become resistant. • When the bacterial becomes resistant, the antibiotic becomes less effective against that type of bacterium.
What Are Antibiotics For? • Broad spectrum antibiotics can be used to treat a wide range of infections. • Narrow spectrum antibiotics are only effective against a few types of bacteria. • There are antibiotics that attack aerobic bacteria, while others work against anaerobic bacteria. • Prophylactic use of antibiotics may be given beforehand to prevent infection, which is commonly used before bowel and orthopedic surgery.
What Are The Side Effects of Antibiotics? • Most common side effects: • Diarrhea • Feeling and being sick • Fungal infections of the mouth, digestive tract, and vagina • Rare side effects: • Formation of kidney stones (when taking sulphonamides) • Abnormal blood clotting (when taking some cephalosporins) • Sensitivity to sun (when taking tetracyclines) • Blood disorders (when taking trimethoprim) • Deafness (when taking erythromycin and the aminoglycosides)
Specific Example of a Side Effect for Antibiotics • Some patients, especially older ones, may experience inflamed bowels (a type of collitis), which can lead to severe diarrhea. • Clindamycin, an antibiotic used for the most serious infections, commonly has this side effect. • However, penicillins, cephalosporins, and erythromycin might cause the same side effect.
Allergic Reactions to Antibiotics • Some patients may develop an allergic reaction to antibiotics, especially penicillins. • Side effects: • Rash • Swelling of the tongue and face • Difficulty in breathing • Reactions to antibiotics can be serious and/or fatal, which includes anaphylactic reactions.
Antibiotics May Interact with Other Medicines • Penicillins, cephalosporins, and some other antibiotics may decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives • If the antibiotic has caused diarrhea/vomiting, the absorption of contraceptives may also be disrupted.
How Should Antibiotics Be Used? • Antibiotics are usually taken orally, but they can also be administered by injection or by topical route to the affected area on the body. • Most antibiotics start having an effect on an infection within a few hours. It is important to complete the whole course of the medication to prevent it from coming back. If it not taken in its entirety, there is a higher chance the bacteria may become resistant to future treatments.
How Should Antibiotics Be Used? • Some antibiotics should not be taken with certain foods or drinks. • Others should not be taken with food in the stomach. • Examples: • Alcohol should not be taken with metronidazole. • Dairy products should not be taken with tetracyclines, as they might affect the absorption of the medication.