Antibiotics: To Prescribe or Not Prescribe?

You are sick and feel miserable. So you go to your doctor for antibiotics to kill what ails you. But instead, your doctor takes a different treatment route that does not include prescribing antibiotics. So why won’t your doctor give you antibiotics? Sometimes drugs can be more harmful than helpful.

When Medicine Meets Resistance

pill bottle Many things can give you an infectious illness, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or other microorganisms. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics only work against bacteria. Therefore, they will not be helpful if a virus or other microorganism causes your condition. When prescribed appropriately and taken correctly, antibiotics can be very effective. They can shorten the time you are sick and keep the disease from spreading to others. Perhaps because they seem so effective, doctors may have a tendency to prescribe them too often, even when there is not anything for them to treat or you would have gotten better just as quickly without them. Over time, many bacteria adapt to resist antibiotics, making these medications less effective or unable to work at all. This occurs even in bacteria not responsible for the illness that just live in your body.Antibiotic resistance is harmful. As more antibiotics are introduced into our environment, by either over-prescribing or entering our food chain through their use in the dairy, poultry, and livestock industries, more strains of bacteria have the potential to become resistant. Some strains of bacteria that are already resistant to antibiotics include: Some bacteria may be resistant to only one antibiotic, while others are resistant to a range of antibiotics. Bacteria can pass this ability to resist multiple antibiotics on to other bacteria, even wihout the presence of antibiotics.These multidrug-resistant bacteria create a challenge for doctors. Patients with conditions caused by these types of bacteria not only endure longer hospital stays, but they may also have to take many drugs in hopes that one of the medications or the combination of medications will work. Often these drugs can be toxic and ineffective. Patients infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria are more likely to die from their illnesses.

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