Myths about antibiotics can interfere with treatment, but without these drugs, such as amoxil, it is impossible to imagine modern medicine. Antibiotics have long gone far ahead of penicillin, invented almost a hundred years ago. Today, they are able to fight superbugs and treat uncomplicated appendicitis, and they try to get them from the most unexpected sources-whether it’s soil, an anthill, Komodo dragon blood or platypus milk. The endless search is due to the fact that the longer humanity uses antibiotics, the higher the probability of resistance of bacteria to them — that is, the risk that new means will be required. And when you consider that even Neanderthals were treated with antibiotics without knowing it, it becomes clear that the bacteria had enough time to adapt.
No less important than bacterial resistance is the problem-we know too little about antibiotics. More precisely, there is already a lot of knowledge about them, but for some reason we continue to believe in myths: many people still believe that antibiotics can cure the flu, although they are useless to treat viral infections. This is just one of the common misconceptions. We have collected ten more that will help you understand what antibiotics are and why they are safe rather than dangerous, but you should not abuse them anyway.
Antibiotics should be taken with probiotics
Antibiotics destroy bacteria, and probiotics restore the intestinal microflora-it sounds logical. However, in fact, neither dysbiosis nor thrush antibiotics in the vast majority of cases do not cause. Of course, a small risk remains, but usually the only thing that a person is threatened with a course of antibiotics is short-term diarrhea.
With regard to probiotics, if we do not take into account commercial studies, doctors are skeptical: further research is needed to understand which strains of bacteria are most useful and in what doses. Experts at the Mayo Clinic believe that the best way to get your intestines in order is to drink plenty of water and choose a milder food compared to the usual diet, as well as reducing the amount of fiber.
Antibiotics should always be taken in a course
We’ve all heard that the course of antibiotics must be completed-but researchers are not sure that this is so necessary if you feel better. According to recent data, early termination of antibiotic therapy does not contribute to the development of resistance to them, but longer than necessary, taking just increases this risk. In addition, for the convenience of the patient, new drugs are being created so that they do not need to be taken for a long time — and there are even antibiotics for a single dose.
However, there are a number of diseases (the most obvious example is tuberculosis), in which refusal of the drug in the middle of the course can lead to serious consequences. Experts say that the ideal length of the course of treatment has not yet been determined — it varies in different people and depends, among other things, on what antibiotics were used in the person in the past.
Myths about antibiotics: You should always do a sensitivity test
Such tests really help to avoid many problems and prescribe an antibiotic that will work exactly the way and at the speed that the doctor would like. But in many cases, the medical algorithm first involves prescribing a broad-spectrum drug that affects different types of bacteria, including the most likely ones for this disease.
Only then, if necessary, another antibiotic is prescribed, aimed at solving a narrower problem. At the same time, the results of studies show that antibiotics of the first type can be at least as effective.
Antibiotics are an absolute evil for children and pregnant women
Researchers believe that pregnant women should use antibiotics with caution. That, however, does not mean that they are prohibited — it is only important to think about their feasibility in each specific case. Antibiotics are not dangerous, but only if they are taken according to indications and in the correct mode.
Recently, the World Health Organization updated the list of essential medicines, dividing antibiotics into recommended, controlled and spare-this is important for prescribing the “right” antibiotics in each individual case.
Injections are better than pills – the myths about antibiotics
A couple of decades ago, hospitals were more likely to use injectable rather than oral antibiotics. This was quite justified, since the arsenal of doctors turned out to be imperfect drugs, and their choice was quite small. Bioavailability (that is, how much of the drug actually entered the bloodstream) was then higher for injectable forms (about 80 %, and for tablets it was 40-60 %).
Since then, a lot has changed in the world of antibiotics: they have become more advanced, “learned” to work faster, and the pills finally boasted a bioavailability of 90-95 % — this made intramuscular injections a relic of the past, especially given their soreness; with intravenous administration, the drug will really work faster,but this is quite rare. Antibiotics in tablets are easier to use and much safer. However, some drugs can not yet be concluded in tablet form — they will simply be digested by enzymes in the stomach.
Antibiotics can be used for prevention
Antibiotic prophylaxis is used to reduce the risk of infections associated with open fractures and wounds, including after surgery, and in such cases it is quite justified. But often, antibiotic prevention means preventing infections in everyday situations — for example, when a person goes on vacation to an unfamiliar country and wants everything to go smoothly.
We are primarily talking about an intestinal disorder known as traveler’s diarrhea and occurs against the background of a change in the food system or climate zone. However, doctors around the world agree that such prevention is an overkill. It is more correct and safer to be careful about the choice of water and food and, as an option, ask your doctor to recommend an antibiotic in case the problem still occurs.
Antibiotics are incompatible with alcohol
Most of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics are quite compatible with alcohol. In any case, one or two glasses of wine is not a reason to interrupt the course or think that antibiotics have ceased to work and they need to be taken again. They say that combining alcohol with antibiotics was banned during the Second World War. Then the production of the drug was not mass and it was used repeatedly – patients collected urine, from which they then received a new penicillin. The beer that the soldiers allowed themselves increased the volume of urine, and it became more difficult to process it.
There are exceptions: metronidazole, tinidazole, trimethoprim, linezolid and some other antibiotics should not be mixed with alcohol to avoid unpleasant side effects. And do not abuse alcohol during a course of antibiotics — it further weakens the body, which does not help fight infection.