Broad Spectrum Antibiotics

drug-943759_1920The word antibiotics come from Greek words “anti” which means against and “bios” meaning life. It originates from 1942. named by Dr. Selman A. Waksman who won the Nobel Prize ten years later for his work in the field of Physiology or Medicine. The antibiotic is a chemical which has a potential of slowing down the growth of a bacteria or killing it. They are used for a wide range of bacteria infections. Broad spectrum antibiotics are the group of antibiotics which affect numerous infections including both gram positive and gram negative bacteria. They treat the bacteria in two ways – bactericidal and bacteriostatic. Bactericidal antibiotics kill the cells, whereas the bacteriostatic ones only stop the bacteria from multiplying.

Uses Of Broad Spectrum Antibiotics

  • Broad spectrum antibiotics can be administered empirically prior to the discovery of the exact cause of the illness. This is important if the doctors are unable to identify the bacteria in a severe condition, where the time is crucial. Broad spectrum antibiotics can be given as a first-hand drug, because they affect a wide range of pathogens, before the results from antibiogram are available.
  • If the bacteria have a high resistance to other narrow antibiotics, a doctor may opt for broad spectrum antibiotics which can help with stopping the resistant bacteria.
  • If the condition goes to super-infection, broad spectrum antibiotics can help with killing the wide range of bacteria causing the illness. A doctor can choose a combination of more narrow antibiotics or a broad spectrum antibiotic.

Advantages Of Broad Spectrum Antibiotics

  • Broad spectrum of activity which covers many bacteria
  • Better prognosis for the administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics compared to narrow antibiotic when starting the treatment before identifying pathogens. They lower the risk of consequences and fatal outcome when the therapy isn’t delayed due to not yet identified cause.

Downsides Of Broad Spectrum Antibiotics

Even if they are widely used and are the most common drugs that are prescribed, they have some disadvantages:

  • Because it is not proven that the broad spectrum antibiotic will affect the bacteria because the exact bacteria are not yet identified, a certain bacteria have a higher chance of developing resistance to a drug. This has become a major problem in the pharmaceutical industry, where the doctors need to decrease the number of broad spectrum antibiotics and wait for the antibiogram results if the disease isn’t fatal due to a delayed therapy.
  • Children who receive a broad spectrum antibiotic in the first year of life have a higher chance of getting childhood asthma.

List Of Common Broad Spectrum Antibiotics

  • Amoxicillin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Streptomycin
  • Tetracycline
  • Penicillin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Cephalexin
UsesSide effectsCaution
TetracyclineIt is used for urinary infections, STDs, respiratory infections, streptococcal infections, arthritis, skin infections, malaria…Diarrhea

Abdomen pain

Photophobia

Headaches

Vomiting

Dizziness

Nausea

Avoid sunlight.

It can react with some other medications such as penicillin, isotretinoin, acitretin, tretinoin and birth control pills.

CephalexinBacteria infections



Tonsilitis

Pharyngitis

Laryngitis

Bronchitis

Pneumonia

Urinary infections

Middle ear infections

Nausea

Vomiting

Dizziness

Headache



Stomach pain

Skin Rash

Diarrhea

Patients who have kidney problems and allergies to penicillin should not take this medicine. It can react to other medications such as metformin and cholestyramine.
PenicillinBacteria infections

Helicobacter pylori

Peptic ulcers

Chlamydia infections

Typhoid fever

Gas gangrene

Leptospirosis etc.

Headaches

Diarrhea

White stains on the mount area

Vaginal discharge and itchiness

Sore tongue and mouth

It can have a reaction to birth control pills, cyclosporine, methotrexate and some other drugs.
CiprofloxacinUrinary tract infections

Bacteria infections

Syphilis

Anthrax

Nausea

Vomiting

Diarrhea

Headaches

Photosensitivity

Coughing

Nose discharge

Using ciprofloxacin with other drugs containing caffeine and theophylline will have side effects. It is advised to avoid this medicine when taking tizanidine.
LevofloxacinBacteria infections

Anthrax

Nausea

Vomiting

Diarrhea

Stomach pain

Headaches

Dizziness

Lethargy

Insomnia

Allergies

It is advised not to combine with thioridazine, mesoridazine, and dronedarone.

Antibiotics are drugs that are taken with a prescription. You should never take antibiotics on your own since it has many negative sides of developing resistance to a not working therapy. Carefully follow the instructions your doctor has prescribed and take the agreed amount of medicine in the prescribed period.

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