Antibiotics are drugs which kill or inhibit the growth of microorganisms, thereby curing infections in humans, animals and sometimes plants. The day to day is the term used to refer to antibacterial which are only indicated for the treatment of bacterial infections, there is more than 15 classes of drugs that differ in chemical structure and activity against bacteria. A certain antibiotics may be effective against one or various bacteria.
These drugs should not be used and are not effective against viruses, which are the main agents of community infections (colds, flu). It is however necessary antibiotics in the case of bacterial infections such as pneumonia and meningitis. In these situations their use is essential.
What problems are associated with antibiotics?
While control bacterial infection, antibiotics may have other undesirable effects:
-Side effects such as allergy, diarrhea, nausea. Most side effects are not serious, but are described deaths associated with severe allergic reactions to antibiotics.
-Death of commensal bacteria that live in the bowel and gynecological unit, which may lead to the development of candidiasis or diarrhea.
-Interaction with the usual pharmaceuticals, or reducing the effectiveness of these antibiotics. The best known example is the decreased effectiveness of oral contraceptives (the pill) with the concomitant use of antibiotics.
-The emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
What is antibiotic resistance?
The bacteria are antibiotic-resistant when they lose their ability to kill or inhibit their growth. Resistant bacteria survive in the presence of the antibiotic, continue to multiply and cause disease more prolonged, severe and even death. These situations require heightened scrutiny and more expensive antibiotics and with more side effects.
What is the main cause of bacterial resistance?
The resistance is obtained by modification of genes of bacteria. The excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics accelerates the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria. When exposed to antibiotics which bacteria die and the strong grow and multiply. These resistant bacteria can be transmitted and cause infections in other people who have not taken antibiotics. These situations are common in hospitals, but are causing concern in the community.
What is the inappropriate use of antibiotics?
When the antibiotic is used for the wrong reason: most respiratory infections are caused by viruses against which antibiotics are not effective. In these cases the picture will not improve with antibiotics - not lower fever, sneezing or decrease.
When the antibiotic is indicated but it is used incorrectly: it is not appropriate for the infection in question, shorten the duration of treatment, reduce the dosage, changing the frequency of administration (skip doses) - does not affect the concentrations of antibiotic required to kill these bacteria survive and become resistant.
Why is antibiotic resistance caused problem?
The treatment of infections caused by resistant bacteria is a challenge, the commonly used antibiotics are no longer effective and doctors have to choose other antibiotics. Thus the treatment can be delayed and may result in complications, including death. Secondly antibiotics "alternative" are more expensive, may have more side effects, are more selective pressure (and emergence of further resistance) and the patient must be monitored more tightly.
The problem is serious?
The situation is getting worse with the emergence of bacteria resistant to several antibiotics at the same time (multi-resistant), since there is bacteria resistant to all available antibiotics. Without antibiotics can return to the pre-antibiotic era, with dissemination of bacteria and infections associated with increased mortality.
The problem is more severe than in the past?
Before the discovery of antibiotics thousands of people died of bacterial infections (pneumonia, postoperative ...). Once they have begun to use antibiotics bacteria have become progressively more resistant to higher speed that have been developed and marketed new antibiotics, particularly in the last decade.
What can be done to solve the problem?
We are all responsible for maintaining the effectiveness of antibiotics. The responsible use may prevent development of resistant bacteria and maintain effective antibiotics. Thus it is important to know that we all have a role in this challenge.
Patients (fever does not mean you need antibiotics):
-Do antibiotics "for everything and nothing" or "just to avoid."
-Follow the advice of your doctor when taking antibiotics - take adequate.
-Where possible, prevent infection by vaccination.
-Wash your hands regularly (adults and children).
-Use antibiotics prescribed by a doctor (do not take "leftover" antibiotics without a prescription or advice of a neighbor).
-Ask your pharmacist where to deliver these "leftovers".
-Explain to patients how to control the symptoms of colds and flu without antibiotics (symptomatic treatment).
-Prescribe antibiotics only when necessary to avoid trying to "spread spectrum".
-Warn patients of the importance of adhering to treatment when an antibiotic is prescribed.