Antibiotics & Its Appropriate Use | Use of Antibiotic Medicines


Introduction of Antibiotics

Antibiotics, also called antibacterial or antimicrobial, are a powerful medicine or drugs used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections as well as some parasites and fungal infections. The mechanism by which anti-bacterial work is by either killing or inhibiting the growth of bacteria. It does not fight against infections caused by viruses such as common colds, flu, sore throats etc. Some side effects may be seen during the course of antimicrobial but these are not serious. The most common side effects are diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, allergic reaction, itching etc. There are various types of antibacterial available in the world with different names and brands. They are not only used in human but also widely used in animals and in agriculture especially to treat and prevent diseases as well as for growth promotion.

Penicillin was the first antibiotics discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928. Since 1928, penicillin and other antibiotics have saved millions of lives and thus are considered as miracle drugs of the 20th century. Between 1944 to 1972, the life expectancy lumped by eight years. Major credit goes to antibiotics.


Antibacterial is administered via different routes depending on the type and severity of the disease. It can be taken as orally such as capsules, tablets, syrup or suspensions etc. or used in a surface of a body or topical areas is called topical antibiotics (lotions, sprays, creams etc.) or in the form of injections. The injection antibiotics are only used when a person has a severe infection.

Guidelines were set for the rational use of antimicrobial by the scientists after the introduction to the world. However, these guidelines were not followed bringing about the misuse or even abuse, be it for the ignorance or compulsion to cure the disease. This misuse and overuse practices not only kills the harmful bacteria but also the normal (sometimes-useful) bacteria of the body. Some bacteria have developed resistance to the antibacterial and the same drug, which once killed them, are unable to produce any effect. These resistant bacteria have now developed a capacity to resist the ability of antimicrobial. This phenomenon is termed as antibacterial resistance, which is starting to occur more often. Antibiotic resistance is a growing public health problem in the world and now everybody’s concern. It may affect any country, any people and any age group.


Uses of Antibiotic Medicines

The only one solution to prevent antimicrobial resistance is to use antibiotic under medical supervision/guidance following the guidelines of rational use of antibiotics. These are as follows:

  1. Use antibiotics only after doctor’s prescription.
  2. Complete the entire course of the prescribed antibiotics even you feel better
  3. Do not save your antibiotics thinking it might be useful for the next time you get sick.
  4. Discard leftover medicine once you have completed your prescribed course of treatment.
  5. Do not use antibiotics for viral infections.

If we do not use it properly now, we have to pay in the future. Therefore, handle antibiotic with care.


Prakash Bhatt

Prakash Raj Bhatt Maharajgunj Medical Campus, Institute of Medicine Bachelor in Public Health

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