Antibiotics – What are they, Uses & Side effects

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What are antibiotics?


Antibiotics, often known as antibacterials, are medications that kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. Antibiotics are used to treat bacteria-related illnesses. Antibiotics are ineffective against viral infections such as the common cough, cold and flu.

Antibiotics are essentially used to cure infections caused by bacteria in humans and animals by either killing or inhibiting the bacterium’s ability to grow and multiply.

Antibiotics at times can cause negative side effects to the body and should only be used when required. Taking unnecessary or unrecommended antibiotics can be dangerous. In this article, a lot of things related to antibiotics are widely discussed from top to bottom.

Classes of antibiotics


Aminoglycosides are antibiotics with a broad spectrum of action that work by inhibiting protein synthesis. It is also used to treat serious infections caused by bacteria that proliferate rapidly or are difficult to treat.

Bactericidal medicines are aminoglycoside antibiotics that destroy bacteria directly. They do this by preventing bacteria from generating proteins that are necessary for their existence.

They are usually injected directly into the body’s veins. Some types of aminoglycosides can be administered orally or through ear drops.


Carbapenems are a type of beta-lactam antibiotics that may kill gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria in both aerobic and anaerobic environments.

Carbapenems are a vital component of our antibiotic arsenal. Carbapenems have the largest breadth of activity and are very effective against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.


Cephalosporins are also a type of beta-lactam antibiotics that are used to treat infections caused by both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.

Cephalosporins are antibiotics that are effective against resistant bacteria, meningitis, skin infections and other illnesses.


Fluoroquinolones are extremely efficient antibiotics with several pharmacokinetic advantages, including high oral bioavailability and broad antibacterial activity.

Antimicrobial resistance to fluoroquinolones has increased as a result of their extensive use.

Glycopeptides and lipoglycopeptides

Glycopeptides and lipoglycopeptides function by preventing gram-positive bacteria from developing a cell wall, which causes the bacterium to die.


The macrolides are a group of natural compounds made up of a large macrocyclic lactone ring to which one or more deoxy sugars, notably cladinose and desosamine are connected.

Antibiotics like azithromycin roxithromycin, erythromycin and clarithromycin belong to the macrolide class.

H.Pylori, chlamydia, atypical community-acquired pneumonia and acute non-specific urethritis are all first-line indications for macrolides.


Monobactams are antibiotics that only have the lactam moiety (an amide with a four-membered ring) and are solely active against gram-negative bacteria. They are inactive against gram-positive bacteria.


Oxazolidinone antibiotics are a type of synthetic antibacterial drug that works by inhibiting protein synthesis in bacteria’s ribosomal 50S subunit. This stops the 70S initiation complex from forming bacteria.

Oxazolidinones are used to treat gram-positive infections.  Oxazolidinones can either be bacteriostatic or bactericidal.


Penicillins are antibiotics that are effective against a wide range of bacteria. Penicillin is the first discovered antibiotic drug. The discovery and development of penicillin changed the phase of medicine, as these antibiotics have saved millions of lives.


A polypeptide is an unbranched, continuous chain of amino acids held together by peptide bonds. The peptide bond joins the carboxyl group of one amino acid to the amine group of the next amino acid to form an amide.

Peptides like nucleic acids, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides and other biological polymers and oligomers, are classified as biological polymers and oligomers.


The rifamycins are a class of antibiotics produced either naturally or chemically by the bacterium amycolatopsis rifamycin. They are a subclass of the larger ansamycin family.

Rifamycins are used to treat tuberculosis, leprosy and mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infections because they are very effective against mycobacteria.


Sulfonamides, sometimes known as sulfa medicines, are antibiotics that target bacteria that cause infections. These antibiotics are generally broad-spectrum antibiotics that work against a large range of bacteria and are used to treat a variety of bacterial infections.


Streptogramins are antibiotics that work by preventing bacteria from synthesising protein. Streptogramins are divided into two types: Streptogramin A (dalfopristin) and Streptogramin B (quinupristin). Both A and B streptogramins inhibit bacterial growth on their own .


Tetracycline is used to treat bacterial infections such as pneumonia and other respiratory tract infections and also infectious diseases of the skin, eye, lymphatic, intestinal, vaginal and urinary systems.

How do antibiotics work?

Penicillin – Kills the bacteria

Penicillin is exclusively effective against gram-positive bacteria because gram-negative bacteria have a lipopolysaccharide and protein layer that prevents penicillin from attacking the peptidoglycan layer of the cell wall.

Bacteriostatic – stops bacteria

Bacteriostatic antibiotics are antibiotics whose mechanism of action halts bacterial cellular activity without inducing bacterial death. A bacteriostatic is a substance that inhibits the growth of bacteria.

How do I use antibiotics correctly?

  • Always follow the directions carefully.
  • Always consume the medication prescribed only by your doctors or else it may lead to severe problems in the future.
  • Follow the recommendations for using antibiotics carefully, and always take the medications on time.

Don’t save your antibiotics for later

Never save drugs for later use. They might not be the right antibiotic for you. They’re also unlikely to cause unintended diseases to your body.

Don’t share your antibiotics with others

Never take antibiotics that have been prescribed for someone else or allow someone else to take your medications.

Don’t take antibiotics prescribed for someone else

Antibiotics that have been prescribed for another person should not be taken. This makes you sicker or create unwanted side effects to your body.

Do antibiotics treat viral infections?

Do antibiotics treat viral infections?

Viruses are different from bacteria. Infections such as colds and flu are caused by viruses. In most cases, antibiotics are not preferred to treat viral infections.

Sore throats

Sore throats are commonly caused by viruses, such as cold or flu virus. Some of the notable causes of sore throat include mononucleosis, tonsillitis and strep throat.


Flu can sometimes result in a mild sickness. However, it can be dangerous or even fatal for persons over the age of 65, newborn babies and people with certain chronic conditions.


Antibiotics such as doxycycline and amoxicillin are used to treat bronchitis. Azithromycin and other macrolide antibiotics are used to treat fewer common cases of pertussis bronchitis (whooping cough).

Antibiotics might cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or a slight skin rash as side effects.

Side effects of Antibiotics

Side effects of Antibiotics


Antibiotic-related diarrhoea is the most common side effect of antibiotics. Antibiotics disrupt the natural equilibrium of bacteria in your intestines, causing diarrhoea. This can also cause stomach irritation and raise the risk of infection from hazardous bacteria like C.


Antibiotics may sometimes cause side effects including nausea and diarrhoea when they affect the bacterial balance of the body. Taking probiotics and prebiotics is said to be one of the reasons for the cause of nausea.


Antibiotics taken in excess might cause problems with the digestive system and lead to vomiting sensation to the patients.


Antibiotics may be harmful to people who are already diagnosed with skin conditions. They can take antibiotic medications only after the doctor’s approval or it may lead to skin allergies and rashes.

Upset stomach

Sometimes, consumption of antibiotics may cause stomach problems in elder people, especially those above the age of 60.

Fungal infections of the mouth

The same fungus that causes mouth infections also causes vaginal yeast infections. It’s possible that you’ll transmit the sickness to your child.

Drugs that disrupt the normal balance of microorganisms in your body, such as prednisone and inhaled corticosteroids can increase your risk of oral infections.

Prevention of Antibiotics

If you’re having an operation

In most circumstances, antibiotics should be started 60 minutes before surgery and finished within 24 hours. Antibiotics, when used correctly, can dramatically reduce your risk of contracting an infection due to surgery.

Higher risk of infection

If you have a previous history of illness, you must be meticulous in selecting your antibiotic medication and can use it only after getting proper advice from the doctor.

When to see a doctor?

If you are feeling worse after one to two days of antibiotic treatment or if your body shows new symptoms, then you should consult your doctor promptly.


When antibiotics are used correctly, they are most effective. Always discuss the best manner to take your antibiotic with your doctor or pharmacist. Antibiotics should also be administered in the prescribed dose regularly.

Although you may feel better within a few days of starting the antibiotic, you should consult with your doctor before discontinuing therapy.


1.What should you not do while taking antibiotics?

1. Do not consume alcohol
2.Do not take antibiotics with milk or fruit juice
3.Do not be afraid to openly admit your conditions to your doctor

2.Is it necessary for me to drink a lot of water while taking antibiotics?

Antibiotics generally come with instructions to take every dose with water. However, water taken in excess with antibiotic medication may cause different reactions in the body and may even cause severe side effects.

3.How can I protect my stomach from antibiotics?

Taking probiotics during and after an antibiotic course can help lower the risk of diarrhoea and restore the health of your gut

4.Can you take antibiotics before bed?

When using an oral antibiotic, it’s critical to understand the dosage and how often you should take the medication. Also, taking these medications before bedtime is generally not a good idea because it might induce oesophagal discomfort.

5.How does antibiotic resistance happen?

Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria and fungi are forced to adapt due to the presence of antibiotics.

6.Should I ever take an antibiotic again?

1. Never save drugs for a later usage
2. Never take antibiotics that have been prescribed for someone else
3. Never allow someone else to take your medications


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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