Saturday, July 23, 2011

Antibiotics (Updated)

(Updated 7/26/2011)
-Going a little more in depth, i don't wanna get too confusing though, i like the idea of this being a "welcome --to the world of" blog vs. "an in depth look at" kinda blog.
Adding common adverse reactions and interactions.

Couldn't think of a better place to start. We all use antibiotics.

But what are they? defines Antibiotics as a type of medicine used to treat bacterial infections.

Bacterial infections are simply infections caused by bacteria, micro-organisms that are so tiny, they are only visible under a microscope. Fun fact: The number of bacteria in a person outnumbers the number of human cells by 10 to1! Have no fear though, because most bacteria is harmless(or even useful) to the human body. But the type of bacteria we're talking about are called pathogenic bacteria.

Examples of bacterial infections include Bronchitis, sinus infections, Gonorrhea, and even variations of pneumonia.

How do antibiotics work?

Because there are so many kinds of bacteria, there are dozens of types of antibiotics. Different antibiotics work in different ways.

Note: These are only some of the most common of the dozens of antibiotics. Others attack different parts of the bacteria.

Penicillins, cephalosporins, and vancomcin are all types of cell wall inhibitors. These antibiotics acylate(basically means change) certain enzymes in an effort to prevent peptidoglycans(groups of enzymes and sugars) from linking. This leads to weakined cell walls in bacteria, making them vulnerable to the body's defensive mechanisms.
Basically:  These antibiotics attack the part of the bacteria that produces the cell wall. The cell wall protects the bacteria in the same way our skin protects us, so these antibiotics weaken the skin, making them very vulnerable to harm.

Neomycin, Erythromycin, Clindamycin, and Tetracycline all inhibit Protein Synthesis. These antibiotics disrupt the cycle or protein synthesis by causing mRNA to be unreadable, disrupting the locomotion of Ribosomes, or stop the process all together.
Basically; Protein synthesis is basically the process of "creating" proteins by reading DNA. Without proteins, the bacteria can't do certain things. Some of these interrupt the reading  process, others attack other parts.

-Some antibiotics require you to avoid direct or abundant sunlight, as they can change the way the body absorbs sunlight or they can change the sensitivity of the skin. Doxycycline(Alodox) is notorious for reactions to sunlight.
-Some antibiotics can be very harmful to unborn babies, depending on when you take it vs. the development stage.
-Some antibiotics have side effects or adverse reactions when mixed with alcohol. Most common would be Bactrim. General rule, if the antibiotic is used to treat some physical type of infection(Ulcers, Infected wounds) try to avoid alcohol, as alcohol changes the way blood is distributed to the body, which inhibits the way the antibiotic is distributed. However, a large number of antibiotics don't show any significant risk when mixed with alcohol. Amoxicillin doesn't necessarily react with alcohol, but your doctor will know if there is a risk, depending on what you are treating.
-When taking some antibiotics, you may need to avoid the sun.
-Some people are allergic to different types of antibiotics, most commonly penicillin.
-Some reactions can be fatal.
-Contrary to popular belief, Antibiotics are useless against the common cold, as it is caused by the virus.

Thanks for reading this blog, taking requests for the next one!


  1. Why is the common cold so hard to create an antibiotic for?

  2. The cold is a virus, and viruses have a tendency to evolve immunities. That's why we have an updated flu vaccine every year, but it's not a hundred percent effective. I worry that if we continue to give immunizations for the flu, we could breed out weaker variations of the virus, creating a SUPER VIRUS! Haha

  3. yes in the end we will end up with a super virus!

  4. your articles are always informative and easy to read :)

  5. I finished week ago a 3-week long antibiotics therapy. Got middle ear infection that went really bad ;(

  6. Yeah the best we can get is anti-virals at the moment, hopefully someone will discover a chemical that can destroy viruses without harming the host cell. Or we could use tiny nano-robots to blast them up :P