Pros and Cons of Common Antibiotics

Alexander Fleming found the first chemical compound that had antibiotic properties known as penicillin in 1929. Antibiotics transformed medicine in the 20th century so later on people started to use antibiotic medications to treat and prevent bacterial infections. Antibiotics either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria to stop them from multiplying. This helps the immune system fight against bacterial infections. Antibiotics themselves are made from bacteria and mold. Moreover, others are often synthesized in the laboratory. Antibiotics are often called antibacterial or antimicrobials.



Some antibiotics can also be toxic for humans even if they are consumed in a therapeutic dosage
Antibiotics work in different ways this is why they target the bacteria differently. Common antibiotics are classified based on their mechanism of action, chemical structure, or spectrum of activity.

There are two categories of antibiotics:

  • Broad Spectrum Antibiotic: They affect a wide range of possible illnesses caused by the bacteria. (Ampicillin, Streptomycin, Tetracycline, Chloramphenicol and Ticarcillin)
  • Narrow Spectrum Antibiotics: They work for a selected group of bacterial types. (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Clindamycin, Erythromycin and Vancomycin)

Antibiotic is a diverse medication because of the scope of benefits attached to it. Although there are more than 100 types of antibiotics that can be used to treat bacteria but it doesn’t only stick to benefiting the patient. Although everyone is familiar with the use of common antibiotics but they also have certain side effects and uncertainties that can be regarded as their con. This means that even common antibiotics have both advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of Common Antibiotics

It won’t be wrong to consider common antibiotics as miracle drugs because there is no doubt about the fact that they lower the severity of the illness instantly.

  • They can also be used against fungi and protozoan infections.
  • Antibiotics are consumed orally but in serious health cases they are used through intravenous administration and often applied topically.
  • Common antibiotics can treat a wide variety of infections such as sore throat, tonsillitis, and sinusitis.
  • Antibiotics are able to treat diseases that could not be treated by any other medicines before these antibiotics were introduced.
  • Common antibiotics develop antibodies that target prescribed microorganisms causing the bacterial infection in the patient’s body but they do not harm other body cells.
  • Common antibiotics are cost effective unlike other medicines so they can be afforded easily for treatments.
  • The antibiotic has the ability to convert glucose present in our body into energy this is why once we start recovering our energy revives.
  • It can treat diseases that have a high chance to spread or transmit from one individual to another.
  • Antibiotics speed up recovery of various illnesses when compared to other medicines. For example if you have common cold and you take an antibiotic you might save yourself from pneumonia.
  • Some antibiotics are used for precautionary measures rather than treating an infection. For instance if you are having a surgery and that certain part of your body might be vulnerable to infection then an antibiotic can eliminate the devastating effects that might prevail later.
  • Common antibiotics can also be used to treat wounds and bites if there is risk of infection.
  • These antibiotics often come in handy when the doctor is unable to diagnose the disease. This way if the bacterial disease is spreading it can be stopped.
  • The antibiotic targets a whole group of different microorganisms not just one bacteria causing the infection to break down.

Cons of Common Antibiotics

The ICU book states, “The first rule of antibiotics is try not to use them, and the second rule is try not to use too many of them.” Antibiotics are screened before they are clinically used but the newly introduced antibiotics might not have their safety profiles well-established.

  • Antibiotics only treat bacteria and they can’t combat against viruses because of their chemical structure (they are not living organisms)
  • Antibiotics are not effective against viruses so a patient using it on inappropriate conditions might adhere to a harmful reaction. As they cure diseases by being selectively toxic to microorganisms they can affect certain type of cells in the patient’s body. It ultimately results in development of allergies to some or the other type of compound used in the antibiotic.
  • If a patient doesn’t complete the cycle of dosage prescribed to them the antibiotic will kill some of the bacteria in your body but because you stopped taking it the rest of the bacteria might become resistant to the antibiotic and grow back again, which can worsen your condition. Antibiotic resistance is actually a major health threat that is documented throughout by medical practitioners.
  • Over consuming a dosage of antibiotics or using a high mg of antibiotics might cause irritation in the chest which can lead to nausea and vomiting. The discomfort of consuming antibiotics that your body could not handle can also cause digestion issues or diarrhea.
  • Sometimes a doctor might overprescribe common antibiotics to the patient for severe bacterial infections and because common antibiotics treat mild conditions it might not cure your illness.
  • Antibiotics might sometimes kill the good bacteria circulating in our body along with the bad bacteria.
  • There is a list of side effects associated with antibiotics which include:
    1. Respiratory difficulties
    2. Swelling of joints
    3. Skin rashes
    4. Retinal detachment
    5. Tendinitis
    6. Muscle Spasms
  • The discomfort of consuming antibiotics that your body could not handle can also cause digestion issues or diarrhea. Moreover, it can also compromise the gut health of a patient who is using antibiotics on a daily basis causing intestinal, urinary and systematic infections.
  • Sometimes you are taking another auxiliary medicine with antibiotics. These auxiliary medicines might not interact with the antibiotic which can cause damage in the body.
  • Some scientists have hypothesized that the indiscriminate use of antibiotics alter the host micro biota and this has been associated with chronic disease.
  • Antibiotics can also lead to complications like yeast infections.
  • Sometimes a doctor prescribes antibiotics when he can’t identify your disease or the symptoms are not clear. This can turn out to be dangerous for your disease because it might not be the right medication for your condition.
  • An allergic reaction to antibiotics can also cause anaphylactic shock to a human body
  • Surveys have declared that early use of antibiotics causes children to have larger bones and gain weight which leads to dominant obesity.




There should be a proper balance when it comes to taking antibiotics. Although, common antibiotics are used to treat mild health conditions and they are not that detrimental to health in other ways but the patient still needs to consult a doctor before the usage so that if he has a previous medical condition that could not stand that antibiotic then the side effects can make the common illness worse.

It is good to know your antibiotic so that all its adverse effects are clear in your mind. Antibiotics are medicines so if you want them their essence to last, always complete the whole course of dosage because it is an important aspect of your healing process. Always use first line antibiotics first and then go for the broader spectrum. The problem of antibiotic resistance has been growing rapidly and is of high concern but you can still find resistance-modifying agents that can increase the susceptibility of the bacteria to an antibiotic.

Sometimes you might just have to face the common side effects of using antibiotics rather than the severe ones, so they won’t really matter. The length of your treatment will depend on your illness and at times the doctor has to prescribe you a whole lot of antibiotics that can work together to combat against the severity of the disease. However, common antibiotics are centered towards treating flu, cough, ear pain, sinus or a throat infection. Evaluate your need and then choose the most appropriate antibiotic.

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