You may have noticed that sometimes doctors are less likely to prescribe antibiotic medicines for you or family members. What is behind this change, and what do you need to know about antibiotic medicines and the problem of antibiotic resistance? Get answers to the most pressing questions about antibiotic medicines from Rite Aid experts.
Doctors consider what is causing your infection to decide if antibiotics are the right treatment for you. Because antibiotics are only effective for illnesses caused by bacteria, they are not prescribed for viral illnesses.
Here are some general guidelines:
Doctors are careful to only prescribe antibiotics when they are necessary and likely to help. That’s because using antibiotics can actually cause growth of bacteria that does not respond to the medicine, called “antibiotic resistance.” Basically, when a person takes an antibiotic, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant germs may be left to grow and multiply. Then, some types of antibiotics are not effective at killing bacteria, and stronger antibiotics are needed.
Antibiotics are lifesaving medicines, but they are sometimes prescribed when not needed or used incorrectly. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics have contributed to an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Doctors also want to avoid the side effects that some people may get from an antibiotic, such as nausea, diarrhea, or allergic reactions.
When antibiotics don’t work, people can have longer and more complicated illnesses, and they need more doctor visits and stronger and more expensive drugs to treat their illness. Bacterial infections can become very serious and difficult to treat.
What should I do when I am given an antibiotic prescription?
Talk to your Rite Aid Pharmacist if you have questions about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance.
These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise or medication regimen.
Combatting Antibiotic Resistance, Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
Antibiotic Resistance Questions and Answers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
About Antimicrobial Resistance, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Get Smart, Know When Antibiotics Work, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Understanding Antimicrobial (Drug) Resistance, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases:
Antibiotics: When They Can and Can’t Help, American Academy of Family Physicians: