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Antibiotics well-known as strong medicines that fight bacterial diseases.

Antibiotics are drugs widely used in the treatment and/or prevention of bacterial infections. They may either kill or restrain the growth of bacteria. A limited number of antibiotics also possess antiprotozoal activity.

But only used properly, antibiotics can save your life.

They either kill bacteria or keep them from reproducing. Your body’s physical defenses can normally take it from there.

But worth to mention that antibiotics do not fight infections caused by viruses, such as:

   Flu (influenza)

    Herpes.

    Chickenpox.

    Mumps, measles and rubella.

    Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS)

    Human papillomavirus (HPV)

    Infectious mononucleosis.

    Shingles.

If a virus is making you sick, taking antibiotics may do more harm than good. Using antibiotics when you don’t need them, or not using them properly, can append to antibiotic resistance. This occurs when bacteria change and become able to resist the effects of an antibiotic.

When you take antibiotics, follow the directions carefully. It is important to finish your medicine even if you feel better. If you stop treatment too soon, some bacteria may survive and re-infect you. Do not save antibiotics for later or use someone else’s prescription.

It is true that there are above a hundred types of antibiotics in use today. However, most of them are made up of a few drug types:

Penicillins: in amoxicillin and penicillin

Cephalosporins: in Keflex and cephalexin

Macrolides: in E-Mycin, Biaxin, and Zithromax

Sulfonamides: in co-trimoxazole

Fluoroquinolones: in Cipro, Levaquin, and Floxin

Aminoglycosides: in gentamicin

Tetracyclines: In Sumycin, Panmycin, and Vibramycin.

It`s important to mention that you need to use antibiotics carefully with alcohol and birth control pills.

The preponderance of studies shows antibiotics do interfere with birth control pills, such as clinical studies that suggest the failure frequency of contraceptive pills caused by antibiotics is very low (about 1%). In cases where antibiotics have been suggested to affect the efficiency of birth control pills, such as for the wide-spectrum antibiotic rifampicin, these cases may be due to an increase in the activities of hepatic liver enzymes’ causing increased breakdown of the pill’s active ingredients. Effects on the intestinal flora, which might result in reduced absorption of estrogens in the colon, have also been suggested, but such suggestions have been inconclusive and controversial. Clinicians have recommended that extra contraceptive measures be applied during therapies using antibiotics that are suspected to interact with oral contraceptives.

Interactions between alcohol and some antibiotics may happen and may cause side-effects and decreased effectiveness of antibiotic treatment. While reasonable alcohol consumption is unlikely to interfere with many common antibiotics, there are specific types of antibiotics with which alcohol consumption may cause serious side-effects. Therefore, potential risks of side-effects and effectiveness depend on the type of antibiotic administered.

Antibiotics such as metronidazole, tinidazole, cephamandole, latamoxef, cefoperazone, cefmenoxime, and furazolidone, cause a disulfiram-like chemical reaction with alcohol by inhibiting its breakdown by acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, which may result in vomiting, nausea, and shortness of breath.In addition, the efficacy of doxycycline and erythromycin succinate may be reduced by alcohol consumption. Other effects of alcohol on antibiotic activity include altered activity of the liver enzymes that break down the antibiotic compound.