Antibiotics are medications which are used for treating and, in rare cases, prevention of infections caused by bacteria and parasites. Another name for antibiotics is antibacterials.
The very first antibiotic in human history was penicillin. Today penicillin-based antibiotics such as amoxicillin, ampicillin and benzylpenicilllin are widely used to treat a lot of infections. There are 5 more types of different modern antibiotics that are known to evidence-based medicine and which are available with a prescription of a doctor around the world. They are cephalosporins (cephalexin and cefixime), aminoglycosides (gentamicin, amikacin, and tobramycin), tetracyclines (doxycycline, and minocycline), macrolides (erythromycin and spiramycin) and fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin). There is a lot of many other antibiotics that specialists may prescribe today for various conditions demanding according treatment with antibiotics medications.
All of the antibiotics work in two ways: they either kill bacteria completely or stop it from spreading. The ones that kill bacteria are called bactericidal (e.g. penicillin), and the ones that stop them - bacteriostatic (e.g. tetracycline).
Antibiotics medications are used in treatment of mild conditions such as acne, and life-threatening disease like pneumonia.
It is important to remember that antibiotics do not help against viral infections like colds, sore throats (if not caused by strep), most coughs, bronchitis and influenza. Otherwise, when a person takes antibiotics medications they increase a risk of bacteria in their body becoming resistant. As a result the individual may get an infection which will spread very fast, and no antibiotics will be able to cure it. For instance, methicillin-resistant Staphylococus Aureus induces infections resistant to a number of standard antibiotics.
A prescribed course of antibiotics must be taken from start to finish, or else bacteria will survive and re-infect the organism.
Antibiotics can be taken in 3 following ways: oral (pills, capsules, tablets, liquids), topical (lotions, sprays, creams and drops) and in injections.
The most common side effects of antibiotics are: being/feeling sick, indigestion, diarrhea, allergic reactions. Some of antibiotics are not fit for pregnant and breastfeeding women.