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Antibiotics -bī-ˈät-ik; -bē-

By Matthew E. Levison, MD

  • Although doctors try to use antibiotics for specific bacterial infections, they sometimes start antibiotics without waiting for tests that identify the specific bacteria.

  • Bacteria can develop resistance to the effects of antibiotics.

  • Taking antibiotics as directed, even after symptoms disappear, is essential to curing the infection and to preventing the development of resistance in bacteria.

  • Antibiotics can have side effects, such as upset stomach, diarrhea, and, in women, vaginal yeast infections.

  • Some people are allergic to certain antibiotics.

Antibiotics (antibacterials) are drugs derived wholly or partially from bacteria or molds and are used to treat bacterial infections. They are ineffective against viral infections and fungal infections. Antibiotics either kill microorganisms or stop them from reproducing, allowing the body's natural defenses to eliminate them.

Resources In This Article

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

  • Generic Name
    Select Brand Names
  • CLEOCIN
  • No US brand name
  • ACHROMYCIN V
  • BLEPH-10
  • FURADANTIN, MACROBID, MACRODANTIN
  • AZULFIDINE
  • BACTOCILL IN PLASTIC CONTAINER
  • TOBI, TOBREX
  • IQUIX, LEVAQUIN, QUIXIN
  • FLAGYL
  • RIFADIN, RIMACTANE
  • CILOXAN, CIPRO
  • FLOXIN OTIC
  • MEFOXIN
  • FORTAZ, TAZICEF
  • NALLPEN IN PLASTIC CONTAINER
  • AVELOX
  • MYAMBUTOL
  • BIAXIN
  • LANIAZID
  • ROCEPHIN
  • GENOPTIC
  • VANCOCIN
  • MINOCIN
  • COUMADIN
  • TYGACIL
  • AZACTAM
  • CUBICIN
  • INVANZ
  • NOROXIN
  • SUPRAX
  • MAXIPIME
  • NEO-FRADIN
  • SULFAMYLON
  • DORIBAX
  • ZITHROMAX
  • ERY-TAB, ERYTHROCIN
  • MERREM
  • SPECTRACEF
  • PERIOSTAT, VIBRAMYCIN
  • KETEK
  • ANCEF, KEFZOL
  • CLAFORAN
  • CEDAX
  • AMOXIL
  • KEFLEX
  • ZYVOX
  • BACIIM
  • CEFTIN, ZINACEF
  • MONUROL