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
6/15/2017
U.S. Hospitals Still Prescribe Too Many Antibiotics: Study

1 in 5 patients experiences side effects from the drugs, which often aren't necessary

6/14/2017
Hospitals Get Good News About Fighting Staph Infections

Resistance to key antibiotic treatments decreased -- a rarity, experts say

5/31/2017
1 in 4 Nursing Home Residents Has Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

More infection-prevention education and policies are needed, study findings suggest

5/30/2017
Scientists Tweak Antibiotic to Boost Power Against 'Superbugs'

New form of vancomycin hits bacteria in 3 ways, helping curb the threat of microbial resistance

5/22/2017
Overcrowded ERs Risky for Some Seriously Ill Patients

People with sepsis had to wait almost an extra hour for antibiotics in busy hospitals, study finds

5/22/2017
First-Try Antibiotics Now Fail in 1 in 4 Adult Pneumonia Cases

Patients typically helped by other means, but levels of drug resistance are concerning, researchers say

5/16/2017
Houston, You Have a 'Superbug'

Researchers don't know why strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is affecting this one U.S. city

5/1/2017
Some Antibiotics Linked to Miscarriage Risk

Study finds certain meds seem safer than others, but overall danger is low, researchers say

4/26/2017
Ick! Synthetic Mucus Could Battle Dangerous Bugs

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

4/18/2017
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

4/18/2017
No Link Between Common Antibiotic, Irregular Heartbeat

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

4/5/2017
Prolonged Antibiotic Use Tied to Precancerous Colon Growths

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

3/14/2017
There's Bad Buzz on Antibiotics for Honeybees

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

3/14/2017
Skip the Antibiotics for Mild Eczema in Kids

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

2/27/2017
Hospital Sinks May Be Awash in 'Superbugs'

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

2/27/2017
Many Americans Unaware of 'Superbug' Threat: Poll

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

2/24/2017
'Superbug' Infections Striking More U.S. Kids

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

2/17/2017
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

2/17/2017
Is Surgery Always Needed for Kids' Appendicitis?

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

2/17/2017
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

2/6/2017
Think You're Allergic to Penicillin? Check Again

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

1/25/2017
Drug May Be New Weapon Against a 'Superbug'

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

1/25/2017
Antibiotic Overuse Behind 'Superbug' Outbreak in U.K. Hospitals

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

1/16/2017
'Superbug' May Be More Widespread Than Thought

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

1/13/2017
'Superbug' Resistant to All Antibiotics Killed Nevada Woman

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

1/13/2017
Study Questions 'Fecal Transplant' Treatment for Gut Infection

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

12/21/2016
Short Course of Antibiotics Not Best for Kids' Ear Infections

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

12/5/2016
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

12/5/2016
'Superbug' Gene Spotted on U.S. Pig Farm

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

11/29/2016
Health Tip: Get the Facts About Antibiotics

Know when they help, and when they don't

11/22/2016
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

11/18/2016
'Superbug' Common Among N.C. Hog Workers, Study Says

Overuse of antibiotics may threaten farm employees, their families

11/17/2016
Kids Can Beat 'Complex' Pneumonia Without IV Antibiotics: Study

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

11/17/2016
More U.S. Kids Getting Drug-Resistant Infections

Finding highlights growing problem of antibiotic resistance

11/9/2016
10/17/2016
Little Gains in Efforts to Boost Outpatient Care

Large analysis finds declines or stagnation in many basic health measures

10/10/2016
If Patient in the Hospital Bed Before You Got Antibiotics -- Take Heed

Researchers find an association with C. difficile infection

9/29/2016
2nd Antibiotic Halves C-Section Infection Rate: Study

Two medications are better than one, researchers say

9/21/2016
Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea a Growing U.S. Threat: CDC

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

9/20/2016
More Must Be Done to Fight 'Superbugs': U.S. Gov't Report

Infectious disease experts say multipronged approach is needed

9/19/2016
CDC: Too Many Antibiotics Still Being Prescribed in U.S.

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

9/9/2016
Connecticut Toddler Latest U.S. Case of 'Superbug'

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

9/6/2016
Antibiotics Before Age 2 May Be Linked to Allergies Later

Risk rose for hay fever, eczema, study suggests

9/2/2016
FDA Cracks Down on Antibacterial Soaps

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

9/2/2016
Doctors' Decision-Making Tool Could Cut Unnecessary Antibiotic Use

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

8/30/2016
Antibiotic 'Report Card' Drills Guidelines Into Dentists

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

8/22/2016
Mouse Study Suggests Antibiotics in Kids Might Help Spur Type 1 Diabetes

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

7/26/2016
FDA Bolsters Warnings About Class of Antibiotics

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

7/22/2016
Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Detected in Sewage Spill

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

7/14/2016
U.S. Cases of Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Rise Fourfold in One Year

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