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
Penicillin Misconceptions May Raise Post-Op Infection Risk

Many patients wrongly report a drug allergy, leading doctors to use inferior meds, study finds

Helping Preemies Avoid Unnecessary Antibiotics

3 factors predicted when infant was at low risk of serious infection called sepsis

Coming Soon: A Faster Test for Antibiotics Against UTIs?

In the future, identifying which drug works best might take minutes rather than days, research suggests

Guinea Pigs Harbor a Hidden Health Hazard

Three Europeans were hospitalized due to infections from these pets

Health Tip: Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

How you can help prevent health risks

Throat Bacteria Linked to Bone and Joint Infection in Kids

Study found one particular germ in 70 percent of children with additional infections

White Kids More Likely to Get Unneeded Antibiotics

Study finds more evidence of racial disparities in ERs

Antibiotic Vabomere Approved

For complicated urinary tract infections

Antibiotic Doesn't Prevent Lung Complication After Stem Cell Transplant

Findings were so dismal that clinical trial was stopped early

Some Medicines Boost Sensitivity to Sun

When taking medication, check with pharmacist to see if sun exposure is an issue

Is Your Child's 'Penicillin Allergy' Real?

Follow-up of 100 kids found none were allergic

Antibiotics Improve Treatment of Skin Abscesses

Drainage alone resulted in worse recovery rates, study finds

U.S. Hospitals Still Prescribe Too Many Antibiotics: Study

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

Hospitals Get Good News About Fighting Staph Infections

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

1 in 4 Nursing Home Residents Has Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

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

Scientists Tweak Antibiotic to Boost Power Against 'Superbugs'

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

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

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

Houston, You Have a 'Superbug'

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

Some Antibiotics Linked to Miscarriage Risk

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

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