What are Antibiotics?
Generally available only by prescription, antibiotics are drugs used to combat bacterial infections. Antibiotics do not work on viral infections, such as colds or flu.
Even though millions of people owe their lives to antibiotic therapy, that doesn’t mean these medications don’t have potential side effects. Many people have began to take probiotics with antibiotics to prevent C diff. Read more to learn how you can avoid some of the most common antibiotic side effects.
Side Effects of Antibiotics
Antibiotics are designed to kill off disease-causing bacteria, or to prevent these bacteria from reproducing. Unfortunately, this process also eliminates the “good” bacteria in the gut.
Types of side effects depends upon the specific antibiotic. Most side effects are relatively mild, but severe side effects may occur. Antibiotics fall into different classes1. Common side effects of antibiotics include:
- Aminoglycosides – these include amikacin, gentamicin, neomycin and tobramycin.
- Common side effects: Kidney issues, hearing loss, nausea, vomiting
- Cephalosporins – these include cefdinir, ceftriaxone and cephalexin.
- Common side effects: Diarrhea, rash, vaginal candidiasis
- Fluoroquinolones – these include levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin and moxifloxacin.
- Common side effects: Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, photosensitivity
- Macrolides – these include azithromycin, erythromycin and clindamycin.
- Common side effects: Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, changes in taste
- Penicillins – these include amoxicillin and ampicillin.
- Common side effects: Diarrhea, rash, abdominal pain, allergic reaction
- Tetracyclines – these include tetracycline and doxycycline.
- Common side effects: Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, tooth discoloration in children
Prevention of Side Effects and Precautions with Antibiotic Use
1. Take Probiotics
Taking a probiotic supplement during antibiotic therapy can aid in reducing or preventing side effects, especially that of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Studies have shown a decrease in antibiotic-associated diarrhea in people under age 65 when probiotics where taken during antibiotic therapy.2 In 23 studies, there were no adverse effects from the use of probiotics during antibiotic therapy.
2. Understand Allergy Symptoms
Some people are allergic to certain antibiotics, and these reactions may prove life-threatening. If you have ever suffered an allergic antibiotic reaction, make sure you know the type of antibiotic responsible and tell your doctor. Allergic reactions may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Facial, lip and/or tongue swelling
If you experience an allergic reaction, get medical help immediately.
3. Follow Label Instructions
When undergoing antibiotic therapy, it is critical to finish taking the entire prescription, even if you feel better and your symptoms are gone. If your fail to finish the therapy, it is possible the infection is still within you, and the symptoms may recur. Generally, a recurrent infection due to failure to finish antibiotic therapy is worse than the original.
4. Know Interactions with Foods
The effect of some antibiotics is impaired when taken at the same time as certain supplements or foods. The labeling on the medication should inform you about any drug interactions or type of supplements or foods you should avoid. Ask your doctor about such interactions at the time of prescription. For example, tetracyclines are affected by antacids, and by consumption of dairy products or nuts at the same time as taking the medication.
5. Avoid Drinking Alcohol
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking antibiotics. Not only can the combination increase side effects, but some antibiotics interacting with alcohol can produce side effects that don’t occur when the drug is not mixed with alcohol. Some antibiotics may cause a jump in blood pressure when alcohol is involved, while others may result in headaches, vomiting and more severe reactions. Keep in mind that products other than alcoholic beverages contain alcohol, so you could experience a reaction from mouthwashes or similar items if you don’t check the label.
6. Understand the Effects with Birth Control Use
If you take birth control pills1, certain antibiotics can interfere with estrogen in the body and render the pills ineffective. An unwanted pregnancy is possible. For that reason, either abstain from vaginal intercourse while taking antibiotics or use another form of birth control for protection.
7. Use When Only Necessary
Overuse of antibiotics has resulted in antibiotic resistance. That means the antibiotics no longer kill or control the bacteria in question. To help decrease the possibility of antibiotic resistance occurring, use antibiotics only when you have a bacterial infection and only use those prescribed by your physician. Never take antibiotics prescribed for another person. You could end up taking an antibiotic that won’t clear up your type of infection, while increasing the odds that you could experience antibiotic resistance down the road.
Antibiotics have saved countless lives and cured innumerable infections, but they require wise use. Some simple precautions, along with the use of probiotics to restore good bacteria in the gut, can help you avoid the side effects of these powerful medications. Try DrFormulas Nexabiotic to help avoid negative side effects of antibiotics today!