Antibiotics

Antibiotics are the antimicrobial drugs which are designed to work against microorganisms either by inhibit the growth or kill the infecting organism. Antibiotics are effective against bacteria, so they are also known as antibacterial. It is important to know that antibiotics are not effective against viruses such as common cold and influenza. So before taking any antibiotic proper knowledge about antibiotics is very important. Never take any antibiotic without doctor’s prescription and never ask doctor for prescribing antibiotics, it would be harmful for your body.
Antibiotics were one of the most, if not the most, transformational discoveries in all of medicine. Infections are something that we struggled to treat for many, many years, for centuries before the advent of antibiotics, and infections were a major cause of death before the advent of antibiotics. They are really miracle drugs in cancer chemotherapy, bone marrow transplantation, stem cell transplantation, ant severe infection. But overuse and misuse of antibiotics is worldwide concern nowadays.

Antimicrobials are classified in many ways, according to chemical structure, mechanism of action, against the type of organism, spectrum of activity, type of action and antibiotics obtained from microorganisms. Antimicrobials according to the type of organisms against which primarily active are Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral, Antiprotozoal, Anthelmintic.
Antibiotics have different mechanism of action. They work either by inhibiting cell wall synthesis, inhibiting protein synthesis, cause leakage from cell membranes, cause misreading of mRNA code and affect permeability, interfere with DNA synthesis or DNA function, inhibit DNA gyrase or interfering intermediary metabolism. Antibiotics may be bacteriostatic or bactericidal. Some static drugs may become cidal at higher concentration, on the other hand some cidal drugs may be only static under some circumstances.

Problems with the use of antibiotics
1.Toxicity
Local irritancy – usually at the site of administration, pain and abscess formation at i.m site or thrombophlebitis with i.v administration.
Systemic Toxicity- Almost all antibiotics may cause some type of systemic toxicity, depending upon doses. Some antibiotics Aminoglycosides can cause 8th cranial nerve and kidney toxicity, tetracyclines can affect kidney and liver, chloramphenicol can cause bone marrow depression, vancomycin can cause hearing loss and kidney damage, polymixin B and amphotericin B can cause neurological and renal toxicity. So never use any antibiotics without doctor’s prescription and advise.
2. Hypersensitivity Reactions
All antibiotics can cause unpredictable reactions from rashes to anaphylactic shock.
3. Drug resistance
Natural resistance– some microbes have always been resistance to certain antibiotics. They lack the metabolic process or the target site which is affected by a particular drug.
Acquired Resistance- It is development of resistance by organism due to the use of antibiotics over the period of time. It is the biggest problem for public health. Bacteria, like any living organism, want to survive. They are adapted that way, and any successful bacteria is the bacteria that’s most able to survive in the environment. So bacterial resistance is largely inevitable, because bacteria will always change in order to survive, this is a phenomenon that plays out in nature. Resistance may be developed by mutation or gene transfer. Resistance organisms can be either drug tolerant, drug destroying, or drug impermeable.
4. Superinfection
This is an appearance of new infection because of using antibiotics. Antibiotics may alter the normal microbial flora of our body which is natural host defence for our body. More complete the suppression of body flora, greater the chances of developing superinfection. Most common example is antibiotic induced diarrhea, because of suppression of colonic bacteria by antibiotic. Superinfections are more common when host defence is compromised.
5. Nutritional Deficiency
Prolonged use of antibiotics alter the normal intestinal flora (which plays an important role in synthesis of Vitamins B complex group and Vitamin K), may result in vitamins deficiency.
6. Masking of an infection
Short course of an antibiotic may be sufficient to treat one infection but it can also suppress another organism for a while which may become a severe infection later. For example syphilis is masked by single dose of penicillin which is enough to cure gonorrhea.

The most common and biggest problem today with antibiotic use is the resistance, The golden age of antibiotics appears to be coming to an end, its demise hastened by a combination of medical, social and economic factors. For decades, these drugs made it easy for doctors to treat infections and injuries. Now, common ailments are regaining the power to kill.

The problem goes beyond treating infections. As bacterial resistance grows, Lesho said, “we’re all at risk of losing our access” to medical miracles we’ve come to take for granted: elective surgeries, joint replacements, organ transplants, cancer chemotherapies. These treatments give bacteria an opportunity to hitch a ride on a catheter or an unwashed hand and invade an already vulnerable patient.
The struggle to sustain the effectiveness of antibiotics is a never-ending arms race. If humankind were regularly finding new anti-microbial agents and turning them into medicines, there might be less cause for worry.
Researchers haven’t identified a new class of antibiotic medication since 1987. As a result, while bacteria have continuously evolved new ways to develop resistance against antibiotics, the medicines have not gained new mechanisms to fight back.
Because of overuse and misuse of antibiotics microorganisms also found new ways to survive, they modify themselves against antibiotic and thus antibiotic does not work against microorganism. Though hospitals are following infection control policies, but everyone has to aware the fact about antibiotics. We are close to the time of end of antibiotic usage only because of resistance. We are quickly running out of therapies to treat some of these infections that previously had been eminently treatable. There are bacteria that we encounter, particularly in health-care settings, that are resistant to nearly all — or, in some cases, all — the antibiotics that we have available to us, and we are thus entering an era that people have talked about for a long time.
So I want to tell you that never use antibiotics without doctor’s prescription and never force them for prescribing antibiotics.
If doctor prescribes you antibiotics, complete the full course and in the correct way as doctor told you, and follow your doctor’s instructions.

Content source – latimes.com, medical news, The essentials of pharmacology book by K.D.Tripathi ( 6th edition)

Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

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