16 Common Myths about Antibiotics

16 Common Myths about Antibiotics

The invention of penicillin is considered one of the most important discoveries in medicine. Since then, hundreds of antibiotics have been developed, their side effects have been investigated and new formulas have been created. However, there are still popular myths, because of which many people are treated incorrectly.

Common Myths and Facts About Antibiotics

Myth 1: All medicines are antibiotics.

Often all antimicrobial agents are mistakenly called antibiotics (including sulfonamides). But this is not the case, sulfonamides are absolutely synthetic drugs, their principle of exposure to bacteria and the body is completely different from antibiotics.

Myth 2: Antibiotics can be taken for prevention

Antibiotics act on the bacterium when it is present in the body. If you take these drugs in the absence of bacteria, you can expect nothing but side effects.

Myth 3: Antibiotics are a dangerous “chemistry”

In fact, many antibiotics are natural or semi-synthetic. They have no more side effects than all other classes of drugs.

Myth 4: After a course of antibiotics, a patient should restore the intestinal microflora.

In most cases, changes in the intestinal microflora during therapy with antibacterial drugs are minimal and its recovery does not require the use of additional drugs. Restoration of microflora is required primarily in patients with immunodeficiency states and/or initial microflora disorders.

Myth 5: Antibiotics cannot be used by patients with allergies

The presence of food allergies is not a contraindication to the use of antibiotics. If a person proves to allergic to a certain drug, he is prescribed another one.

Myth 6: Antibiotics cannot be used by pregnant women and young children.

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The possibilities of antibiotic therapy in children and pregnant women depend on the age of the child, the period of pregnancy and the drug itself. Augmentin is approved for use in children from the first days of life and, if necessary, can be given to women in early pregnancy.

Myth 7: If an antibiotic was effective in the past, it will help now

Is not a fact. First, the bacteria mutate and produce resistance to antibiotics, and if you cured the disease with an antibiotic five years ago, it might not work this time. In addition, the formulas also change over the years, and modern means often do not have those side effects that their predecessors had. You should contact a doctor who will choose the best antibiotic for your condition.

Myth 8: When choosing antibiotics, one should rely on reviews of friends

This is an extremely dangerous opinion. Completely different diseases may have the same symptoms. With this approach, you only lose time, money, worsen the disease and create an extra burden on the liver.

Myth 9: Antibiotics cause liver damage.

Yes and no. In rare cases, non-hazardous complications may occur. Severe complications have been observed in isolated cases throughout the world over the last 20-30 years.

Myth 10: If an antibiotic has a side effect, it does not suit me.

One of the brightest signs that an antibiotic does not suit you is an allergic reaction that occurs on the first day after taking the first dose. It is normal if various disorders occur against the background of antibiotics. Finally, an obvious sign that an antibiotic does not suit you is the absence of the desired effect. A complete list of possible side effects is contained in the instructions for the drug, read them carefully.

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Myth 11: Antibiotics give an instant effect.

Some drugs facilitate the patient’s condition after the first dose, but in most cases, the effect is cumulative, and improvement may occur after a few days. This is not a reason to interrupt the treatment!

Myth 12: To prevent antibiotic resistance, it is necessary to change the prescribed drug every 5–7 days.

Current recommendations include treatment regimens of up to 10–14 days or more, depending on the nosological form of the infection. A change of antibacterial drug without clinical laboratory evidence leads to the selection of the most resistant strains and to the development of more severe forms of infection in a patient.

Myth 13: If you have an infection, you should always take antibiotics.

Antibiotics act only on bacteria, and if the disease was caused by viruses or fungi, treatment with such drugs will not bring any result. Therefore, in case of influenza, ARD and ARVI, antibiotics are prescribed only if the disease has passed into the bacterial form. In addition, antibiotics are far from the most innocuous and harmless drugs, and you need a really serious reason for their use.

Myth 14: You can stop taking antibiotics if you feel better.

Never interrupt the course of antibiotics, even if you “recovered” on the second or third day after the start of the therapy. If the course is interrupted, the disease may resume, and the very same drugs will no longer help, as the bacteria already have resistance to them.

Myth 15: An expensive antibiotic is always more effective than a cheap equivalent.

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The cost of the drug depends on many factors and is not always an indicator of quality, therefore you’d better focus on the composition and concentration of the active substance in the preparation, rather than the well-known brand.

Myth 16: Penicillins are useless since these are “outdated” and “weak” antibiotics, all microorganisms have become resistant to them in 60 years.

Even “outdated” antibiotics can be updated to make them very effective. An example of this is Augmentin. In addition to amoxicillin (semi-synthetic penicillin), clavulanic acid (β-lactamase inhibitor) is added to its composition. As a result, such a tandem forms a persistent inactivated complex with these enzymes, interferes with the action of bacterial enzymes and protects amoxicillin from the loss of antibacterial activity caused by the production of β-lactamase by both the main pathogens and conditionally pathogenic microorganisms.