Antibiotics News

Antibiotics are medications that are used to treat bacterial infections, as well as certain fungal or parasitic infections. They do not fight infections that are caused by viruses, such as those that cause colds and flu. Though they are common, antibiotics are generally regarded as a strong medication. They are available only with a prescription from a health care provider.

Types of Antibiotics

Antibiotics are typically classified based on the type of organism that they're designed to kill. For example, antibacterials are the most commonly prescribed type of antibiotic. Ampicillin and penicillin are two of the many examples of antibacterial antibiotics. There are also antibiotics designed to fight fungal infections (antifungals) or parasitic infections (antiparasitics).

Some antibiotics are designed to fight many different types of organisms. These are known as broad-spectrum antibiotics. Others, which fight just a few types of organisms, are classified as narrow-spectrum antibiotics.

Concerns About Antibiotics

Antibiotics are useful drugs, and there’s no question that they have saved many lives. For example, 90 percent of children who developed bacterial meningitis used to die before the development of antibiotics. Strep throat was also sometimes a fatal disease. This is rarely the case today thanks to antibiotics.

However, antibiotics have led to some concerns in recent decades, and that’s because of the development of strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In some cases, the development of these bacteria can be tied directly to the overuse of antibiotics, as well as antibiotics being prescribed incorrectly. These bacteria can be dangerous because the typical medication to treat them may no longer be effective. In many instances, though, an alternative antibiotic may be helpful in ending the bacterial infection. The situation with antibiotic resistance has been improving thanks to health care providers cutting back on unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions (such as for viral infections like the cold and flu).

SOURCES: American Academy of Family Physicians; American Academy of Pediatrics

Date Posted
Article Title
Ick! Synthetic Mucus Could Battle Dangerous Bugs

Researchers are working on lab-grown versions to control disease-causing bacteria

Is It Wise to Take a Steroid for a Sore Throat?

Study seeking antibiotic alternatives found that only one-third of patients improved within 48 hours

No Link Between Common Antibiotic, Irregular Heartbeat

Azithromycin, commonly known as Zithromax, won't up odds for atrial fibrillation, study shows

Prolonged Antibiotic Use Tied to Precancerous Colon Growths

Drugs that alter gut bacteria might set stage for polyp development, researcher says

There's Bad Buzz on Antibiotics for Honeybees

Researchers say the drugs wipe out the insects' beneficial gut bacteria

Skip the Antibiotics for Mild Eczema in Kids

Skin condition cleared up just as well without use of the drugs, study found

Hospital Sinks May Be Awash in 'Superbugs'

Study finds drug-resistant bacteria can colonize in drains, spread to sinks and eventually reach patients

Many Americans Unaware of 'Superbug' Threat: Poll

Most say they know little about antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and half think antibiotics work against viruses

'Superbug' Infections Striking More U.S. Kids

Antibiotic-resistant germs no longer confined to hospitals, study warns

For a Fun and Safe Tropical Getaway, Plan Ahead

Be aware of unusual health risks in the Caribbean and Central and South America, doctor advises

Is Surgery Always Needed for Kids' Appendicitis?

Review found many with inflamed appendix were fine with antibiotics alone, but more research needed

Docs More Likely to Prescribe Antibiotics If Patients Expect Them

Study found physicians might even give the drugs if they didn't suspect a bacterial infection

Think You're Allergic to Penicillin? Check Again

Some people outgrow their allergy and others may have been misdiagnosed, doctor explains

Drug May Be New Weapon Against a 'Superbug'

Zinplava cuts risk of recurrent C. difficile infections by 40 percent

Antibiotic Overuse Behind 'Superbug' Outbreak in U.K. Hospitals

Finding could have implications for U.S. hospitals, study authors say

'Superbug' May Be More Widespread Than Thought

Study of 4 U.S. hospitals found wide variety of germs resistant to antibiotics of last resort

'Superbug' Resistant to All Antibiotics Killed Nevada Woman

She died after possibly picking up an infection in an Indian hospital, researchers say

Study Questions 'Fecal Transplant' Treatment for Gut Infection

In direct comparison, researchers found no real difference compared to antibiotics

Short Course of Antibiotics Not Best for Kids' Ear Infections

10 days of the medication was twice as effective, study finds

U.S. Doctors Still Over-Prescribing Drugs: Survey

More than 1 in 4 say antibiotics are given when the drugs will likely do no good

'Superbug' Gene Spotted on U.S. Pig Farm

Study suggests potential resistance to a last line of antibiotics for humans

Health Tip: Get the Facts About Antibiotics

Know when they help, and when they don't

U.S. Death Toll From Infectious Diseases Unchanged: Study

Although new threats have emerged, the number of people dying from infections has stayed relatively stable

'Superbug' Common Among N.C. Hog Workers, Study Says

Overuse of antibiotics may threaten farm employees, their families

Kids Can Beat 'Complex' Pneumonia Without IV Antibiotics: Study

Drugs taken by mouth were just as effective for children after hospital discharge

More U.S. Kids Getting Drug-Resistant Infections

Finding highlights growing problem of antibiotic resistance

Little Gains in Efforts to Boost Outpatient Care

Large analysis finds declines or stagnation in many basic health measures

If Patient in the Hospital Bed Before You Got Antibiotics -- Take Heed

Researchers find an association with C. difficile infection

2nd Antibiotic Halves C-Section Infection Rate: Study

Two medications are better than one, researchers say

Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea a Growing U.S. Threat: CDC

But new drug shows promise against sexually transmitted disease in early trials

More Must Be Done to Fight 'Superbugs': U.S. Gov't Report

Infectious disease experts say multipronged approach is needed

CDC: Too Many Antibiotics Still Being Prescribed in U.S.

United Nations to discuss duel problems -- overuse and lack of access

Connecticut Toddler Latest U.S. Case of 'Superbug'

But like 3 other infections reported earlier, it did not spread beyond the original patient

Antibiotics Before Age 2 May Be Linked to Allergies Later

Risk rose for hay fever, eczema, study suggests

FDA Cracks Down on Antibacterial Soaps

Says the products are no better than traditional soap, and may pose risk of bacterial resistance

Doctors' Decision-Making Tool Could Cut Unnecessary Antibiotic Use

A drop of about 10 percent is possible, study authors suggest

Antibiotic 'Report Card' Drills Guidelines Into Dentists

Seeing their prescription rates leads some to change their ways, study finds

Mouse Study Suggests Antibiotics in Kids Might Help Spur Type 1 Diabetes

Whether link applies to humans isn't clear, researchers say

FDA Bolsters Warnings About Class of Antibiotics

Fluoroquinolones such as Cipro, Levaquin should be reserved for life-threatening infections

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Detected in Sewage Spill

'People need to be aware of what may be entering the water,' researcher says

U.S. Cases of Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Rise Fourfold in One Year

CDC statistics for 2013-2014 show troubling spike in resistant strains

2nd U.S. Case of Bacteria Resistant to Last-Resort Antibiotic

Scientists concerned it could lead to more drug-resistant germs

Many Adults Use Antibiotics Without Consulting Doctor, Survey Finds

1 in 20 holds onto and uses old, leftover meds, contributing to danger of drug-resistant germs

Can an Antibiotic Help You? Quick Test Might Someday Tell

The screen could provide results in an hour, reducing the unnecessary use of the drugs, developers say

New Test Help Detect Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Uses specimens taken directly from patients

U.K. Case of Throat Gonorrhea Resists Antibiotics

U.S. officials concerned about potential danger of untreatable STD

A New Antibiotic to the Rescue?

Experimental drug shows promise against MRSA superbug in animal trials

Antibiotics, Formula Feeding Might Change Baby's 'Microbiome'

C-section birth may also diminish diversity of these colonies of helpful microbes, study shows

Antibiotics May Blunt Breast-Feeding's Benefits

Infants given the drugs were prone to infections and obesity in childhood, researchers say