Antibiotic is a class of antibacterial medication
which is therapeutically intended for use of treatment and prevention against
infections of bacteria either locally or systemically. Examples of such drugs
are penicillin, amoxicillin. Antibiotic acts by two ways which are either
lysing or inhibiting the growth of bacteria. Generally, antibiotic is also
known to be not effective against infections induced by viruses such as common
cold or influenza albeit few or limited number of antibiotics do have antiprotozoal
Discovery of penicillin was made in the early 20th
by Sir Alexander Fleming. i
To date, antibiotics together with development of vaccine have put an end to
diseases such as diphtheria and tuberculosis. However, overuse and misuse of
antibiotics is currently an issue due to easy access and their effectiveness.ii
This has led to bacteria’s mutation and development of resistance against
antibiotic of which is called superbug.
Consequently, this led to worldwide problems, which caught the attention of
World Health Organization as to give a statement about it as a serious threat
Antibiotics are purposely used to treat bacterial
infection or may also be given as a preventive countermeasure (prophylactic
therapy). Bacterial infection if left untreated may lead to life-threatening
manifestations. A diagnosis is first made based on clinical evaluation of
symptoms shown physically and the patient’s history itself. Further
investigation may involve few microbiological tests such as blood test and
cultures of sample and other tests. v
These microbiological test results may not come to avail within the first 24 to
72 hours thus initial therapy for infection is conducted. Initial therapy known
as empiric therapy is assumed when a patient is suspected of having a bacterial
infection but the pathogen responsible for the infection is not yet identified.
Empiric therapy may be approached using broad-spectrum antibiotic. Once the
results for microbiological tests become available and etiologic pathogen is
identified, definitive therapy will be proceed and this is followed by the use
of more narrow-spectrum antibiotic.vi
Antibiotics are commonly considered as
safe and well tolerated for most people and they go through thorough screening
for any harmful adverse effects before they are approved for clinical use.
Albeit, antibiotics like any other drug, too have a wide extent of side
effects. The severity of adverse side effects ranging from mild to very severe
depending on several factors such as the type of antibiotic consumed, the
pathogenic microorganisms targeted and the patient.viiOccurring
side effects of antibiotics may be associated with its pharmacological or
toxicological properties. In some cases, side effects may happen due patient’s
hypersensitivity or allergic reaction.viii
Examples of side effects include nausea, diarrhoea, and contact dermatitis.
Moreover, interaction or concomitant of antibiotic use with other drugs may
result in additional side effects.
iTan, Siang Yong; Tatsumura, Yvonne (1 July 2015). “Alexander
Fleming (1881–1955): Discoverer of penicillin”. Singapore Medical Journal. 56 (7): 366–367. ISSN 0037-675. PMC 4520913?. PMID 26243971. doi:10.11622/smedj.2015105.
Megan (16 November 2015). “Public Confused About Antibiotic
Resistance, WHO Says”. Medscape Multispecialty.
Retrieved 21 November 2015.
iii”Antibiotics”. NHS. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 17 January2015.
resistance: global report on surveillance” (PDF). The World Health Organization. April 2014. ISBN 978
92 4 156474 8. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
vNordin H, Antimicrobial
Therapy pdf. Retrieved 28 February 2017
viLeekha, Surbhi; Terrell, Christine L.; Edson, Randall S. (1 February
principles of antimicrobial therapy”. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 86 (2): 156–167. ISSN 1942-5546. PMC 3031442?
. PMID 21282489. doi:10.4065/mcp.2010.0639.
viiSlama TG, Amin A, Brunton SA, Et Al. (July 2005). “A Clinician’s
Guide To The Appropriate And Accurate Use Of Antibiotics: The Council For
Appropriate And Rational Antibiotic Therapy (CARAT) Criteria”. Am. J. Med. 118 Suppl 7A (7):
1S–6S. PMID 15993671. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2005.05.007.
viiiChemical Analysis of Antibiotic Residues
in Food.(PDF). John Wiley & Sons,
Inc. 2012. pp. 1–60. ISBN 9781449614591.
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Antimicrobial misuse, antibiotic policies and information resources. l
Antitmcrob Clmmother 1980; 6:435-43.
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