Do Antibiotics Do More Harm Than Good?

September 18, 2012

Some of the most sold antibiotics may be doing more harm than good. A lawsuit has been raised including more than 2,000 people who have suffered serious side-effects. Remember, the majority of antibiotics are over-prescribed—so in many cases (antibiotics for sinus infections, for colds…) there was no benefit.

Fluoroquinolones, a class of antibiotics which include ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, and levofloxacin, raise the risk of retinal detachment, kidney failure, nervous system problems, and GI Tract issues (any antibiotic will negatively affect the GI Tract if probiotics aren’t taken to counteract the death of good bacteria, but fluoroquinolones cause a wider range of more severe problems).

Some people suffer a wide range of symptoms that can’t be readily treated. Anyone with a weakened immune system (the young, old, pregnant, and those with existing health conditions like liver disease) are at an increased risk. Although ill-researched, there are even a host of potential long-term side-effects that may crop up after months after taking them.

The overprescription of antibiotics has been directly linked to antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Of course, there are many instances when it’s necessary to take antibiotics. But if we don’t save them for those special cases—then they will wear out before we can use them.

Antibiotic resistance is running toward a wall unless dramatic changes occur soon. Development of new classes of antibiotics is slow going, and even then, severe side-effects are beginning to outweigh the benefit (can the antibiotics kill the tuberculosis faster than they kill you?).

Questions for you Doctor:

-Could this be caused by a virus or fungus? (Most colds, sinus infections, and other common diseases are).
-How long will this take to clear up on it’s own, and are there alternative treatments to try first?
-What’s the name of the antibiotic you’re prescribing, and what side-effects should I watch out for?

It’s important to develop a good relationship with your doctor: they should be involved with your care and monitor any illnesses, but should also know that you don’t expect a prescription from every visit. Many doctors feel pressure to prescribe antibiotics, even when they know better.

When you are prescribed antibiotics, always take them all to ensure eradication of the infection and discourage the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria (in you, no less). If the side-effects are too harsh, don’t stop taking them—just ask your doctor if a milder antibiotic would also work.

How do you handle doctor’s visits? Share below:

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