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List of Antibiotics and Their Uses

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Since the 1930s, antibiotics have been used to treat many bacterial infections in humans, animals, and plants. Antibiotics only work for bacterial infections and not for viral infections such as the common cold, flu, or sore throat. This means that antibiotics should not be taken except for the appropriate purpose. In fact, taking antibiotics at inappropriate times can make those antibiotics less effective when you do need them. This means understanding the drugs you take becomes very important.

The following is the list of frequently used antibiotics to treat particular kinds of infections.

  • Aminoglycosides

Infections that are a result of gram-negative bacteria can be cured by aminoglycosides. These antibiotics treat pneumonia, typhus, and other bacteria-causing illnesses.

Aminoglycosides cannot be taken orally so its must be injected. When injected, side effects can include damage to ears and kidneys. There may be risk to a fetus from this drug taken during pregnancy.

  • Penicillins

Penicillins are used to cure skin infections, ear infections, respiratory tract infections, dental infections, urinary tract infections, and gonorrhea. Penicillins can be combined with ingredients such as beta-lactamase inhibitors, which will protect penicillin from the harmful bacterial enzymes that may destroy it before it performs its function.

  • Cephalosporins

Cephalosporins treat staph infections, step throat, pneumonia, bronchitis, tonsillitis, otitis, gonorrhea, and skin infections. They are also used in surgical prophylaxis.

  • Sulfonamides

Sulfonamides or sulfa drugs are antibacterial agents that fight various forms of infection. They function similarly to penicillins. These antibiotics effectively treat kidney infections, however, side effects may include damage to the kidneys. Patients are advised to drink lots of water to prevent the drug from forming crystal deposits. Sulfa drugs may cause increased skin sensitivity to sunlight.

  • Fluoroquinolones

Fluoroquinolones treat skin infections, urinary tract infections, and respiratory infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinusitis. Using fluoroquinolones may have mild side effects, such as upset stomach. However, these drugs may also cause a serious and permanent form of nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy. This type of antibiotics should not be given to children and pregnant women, since the drugs are known to affect bone growth.

  • Macrolides

Macrolide antibiotics treat soft tissue infections, respiratory tract infections, gastrointestinal infections, and genital infections that are caused by specific strains of bacteria. This type of antibiotics is used to treat patients who are sensitive to penicillin. Side effects include gastrointestinal discomfort.

  • Tetracyclines

Tetracyclines treat malarial infections, chlamydial infections, and syphilis. They can also be used for mild acne treatment as well as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, upper respiratory tract infections, and typhus. Tetracyclines should not be taken by children 8 years old or younger or by women in the last half of pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Antibiotics are very important in health care as they treat and cure various infections. Unfortunately though, certain bacteria have the capacity to develop resistance to them. These antibiotic resistant bacteria cannot be killed by common antibiotics and won’t be found on any list of antibiotics and their uses. This makes certain illnesses very difficult to treat. Always seek medical advice about antibiotics use. Never misuse or overuse the drugs.

Learn more: 

Pros and Cons of Antibiotics

Top 10 Ways to Take Antibiotics Safely

Children and Antibiotics: How Much Is Too Much?

Side Effects of Long-term Antibiotic Use

Should You Take Antibiotics for Bronchitis?

Superbugs and Antibiotic Resistance

This article is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your doctor for answers to your medical questions.

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