Antibiotics or antibacterial are chemical substances that destroy or prevent the growth of microorganisms (Nordqvist, C 2009; Wassenaar, TM 2009). Broad-spectrum antibiotics cure a wide range of diseases while narrow-spectrum antibiotics can only attack certain bacteria (Nordqvist, C 2009). Antibiotics were discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1929 when he found that penicillin notatum had inhibited the growth of pathogenic bacteria (Lowrie, P & Wells, S 1991). In the 1940s, antibiotics are manufactured using sterile techniques and complex engineering. However, bacterial diseases still exist due to the spread of antibiotics resistance (Chenn, P 1997). The aim of research is to discuss the safe use of antibiotics in the pharmaceutical industry.
The different types of antibiotics include penicillin, macrolide, cephalosporin, tetracycline, aminoglycoside, quinolones and others (Bupa's Health Informationâ€¦ 2009). Bactericidal antibiotics destroy bacteria while bacteriostatic prevent the multiplying of bacteria (Nordqvist, C 2009). Cell wall, cell membrane and nucleic acid are examples of targets in the bacterium for some antibiotics. Cell walls are disrupted so that bacteria can be easily lysed and cell membranes are disrupted to affect their permeability (Lowrie, P & Wells, S 1991). The manufacturing of antibiotics involves the screening of microorganisms which produce antibiotics, testing their optimum productions conditions and chromatography to check their chemical structure. The fed-batch culture is used to produce antibiotics commercially (Lowrie, P & Wells, S 1991).
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Antibiotics are generally safe. Tests had been conducted to both antibiotics and patients. Before prescription, the antibiotic susceptibility tests are conducted to search for the most suitable drug. If the drug is effective, the minimum inhibitory concentration must be obtained in the site of infection. Furthermore, a bioassay is used to monitor the antibiotics concentration in fluids to ensure that the safe dosage is not exceeded (Lowrie, P & Wells, S 1991). The Antibiotic Allergy Testing is conducted to indicate the presence of allergic reaction when consuming antibiotics. It comprises of three to four stages and the concentration of antibiotics is increased after each stage. Redness is one of the positive allergic reactions (Children's Hospital Boston, 2005). Moreover, patients are required to be careful and responsible when consuming antibiotics. Firstly, patients should not insist doctors to prescribe antibiotics for viral infections. Also, one should not consume others antibiotics even though they portrays similar symptoms. One should record the name, strength and duration of each antibiotics consumed as a reference for doctors to prescribe the best antibiotics in future. Always ask doctors or pharmacists on steps taken if a dose is missed (Antibiotic Safety n.d.).
Besides that, one should not be afraid in asking questions regarding the antibiotics prescribed. In fact, one should follow the instructions given and consume them in the right amount and at regular intervals. Health problems, pregnancy and allergies should be well-informed to doctors (Bupa's Health Informationâ€¦ 2009). Most importantly, one should complete the entire course of antibiotics although they feel better so that bacteria will not multiply. To ensure the safe usage of antibiotics, one should reduce the intake of antibiotics in his diet to minimize the level of resistant bacteria (Bock, KA, Bock, SJ & Faass, N 2003). One should be aware of the interactions between antibiotics with other drugs, food or conditions. Antibiotics are unable to function optimally when consumed with food rich in minerals (Special Cautions forâ€¦ 2000). Taking antibiotics with alcohol will lead to the breakdown of antibiotics as it competes with liver enzyme (McGill University 2006). Besides patients, doctors should always examine patients carefully and consider their symptoms. Doctors should take a culture to determine whether a particular illness is caused by bacteria. The "antimicrobial susceptibility report" helps doctors to prescribe the useful antibiotics for a particular illness (APUA, n.d.).
However, antibiotics are dangerous because they cause a number of side effects in certain individuals, for instance, Diarrheal, nausea and stomach ache which may lead to dehydration (Antibiotics Safety n.d.). The formation of kidney stones, abnormal blood clotting, sun sensitivity, blood disorders and deafness are uncommon side effects of antibiotics. The elderly might even be exposed to inflamed bowels (Nordqvist, C 2009). Repeated use of antibiotics may compromise one's digestion and natural immune response (Bock, KA, Bock, SJ & Faass, N 2003). Women should be aware when consuming antibiotics as it may leads to vaginal yeast infections. Antibiotics provide the opportunity for the rapid growth yeast by destroying normal bacteria at the vagina. This infections cause itch, pain during sex, burning and vaginal discharge. Antibiotics may minimize the effectiveness of contraceptive pills. They are also harmful if they are being passed on to a foetus (Antibiotics Safety n.d.). Furthermore, certain individuals are allergic to antibiotics. They will experience 'anaphylactic reaction' which includes rash, swelling of the face and difficulty in breathing. This can be critical or even fatal (Bupa's Health Informationâ€¦ 2009).
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Antibiotics resistance in bacteria is one of the severe problems today. It is mainly caused by the incautious prescribing and improper use of antibiotics (Chenn, P 1997). Resistance occurs when the antibiotic used are unable to destroy the infectious bacteria completely. Bacteria also survive as they have an inherited mutation (Bupa's Health Informationâ€¦ 2009). An incomplete course of antibiotics will cause resistant bacteria to become numerous and thus creating a new illness in which new antibiotics are needed (McGill Univeristy 2006). When resistance develops, the present antibiotics are unable to cure the infections. Hence, it may last longer and worsen. Chances of getting an infection resistant to antibiotics increase each time when one take an antibiotics them unnecessarily and inappropriately (Antibiotic Safety n.d.). Also, people with impaired immune system will provide a breeding ground for drug-resistant bacteria as they were unable to eliminate all the drug-resistant survivors. Hence, problems on antibiotics resistance arise when they are prescribed with antibiotics (Chenn, P 1997).
In conclusion, antibiotics are useful not only toward human but also animals and crops. Antibiotics are widely used in the medical field to cure illnesses caused by bacteria. Antibiotics are generally safe if used appropriately and tests are conducted. However, one should always be aware of the side effects and allergic caused by antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is also dangerous and harmful. Antibiotics should continue to be used in the pharmaceutical industry as it plays an important role in destroying harmful pathogen. Without antibiotics, one might suffer an illness for a longer period. Physician and patients should play their part and be careful when prescribing and using antibiotics. Researchers around the world should find a solution toward problems caused by antibiotics to ensure its safety usage towards consumers.