The antibiotics They are a type of chemical substance derived from living beings or artificially synthesized, whose main property is to prevent the growth and spread of certain pathogenic microorganisms sensitive to their formula. For instance: penicillin, arsphenamine, amoxicillin.
Antibiotics are used in the medical treatment of humans, animals and plants against infections of bacterial origin, that is why they are also known as antibacterials.
Broadly speaking, the antibiotic treatment operates as one chemotherapy, that is, flooding the body with substances that are harmful to cell life, to which the pathogenic or invading microorganism is much more sensitive than benign cells.
The sensitivity of said bacteria it has been influenced by the indiscriminate use of antibiotics, promoting resistant strains to them. For this reason, new generations of more powerful or more specific action drugs have had to be synthesized.
Examples of antibiotics and their use
- Penicillin. Derived from the fungus penicillium by Enerst Duchesne in 1897 and accidentally ratified by Alexander Fleming, it is the first properly synthesized and mass-applied antibiotic. Therefore, many bacterial strains are already resistant to it, but it continues to be used against pneumococci, streptococci and staphylococci, as well as a wide range of infections in the stomach, blood, bones, joints and meninges. There are patients allergic to its formula who cannot be treated with it.
- Arsphenamine. The first proper antibiotic, since it was used before penicillin against syphilis. Derived from arsenic, it has been tested numerous times until it is not toxic to the patient, although in large quantities it is still lethal. It was displaced by penicillin, which is much safer and more effective.
- Erythromycin. The first antibiotic of the group of macrolides, that is, endowed with lactone molecular rings, was discovered in 1952 from bacteria on the Philippine soil. It is extremely effective against gram positive bacteria in the intestinal and respiratory tract, as well as Chlamydia during pregnancy, but it has uncomfortable side effects.
- Kanamycin. Of restricted use due to its high toxicity, Kanamycin is especially effective against tuberculosis, mastitis, nephritis, septicemia, pneumonia, actinobacillosis and especially strains resistant to erythromycin. It is used, along with other antibiotics, as an operative preparation for the colon.
- Amikacin. From the group of aminoglycosides, it acts on the bacterial process of protein synthesis, preventing them from generating their cellular structures. It is one of the effective antibiotics against strains resistant to the rest of its group and is used in severe cases of sepsis, or against highly dangerous gram-negative organisms.
- Clarithromycin. Invented by Japanese scientists in 1970, when they were looking for a version of erythromycin with fewer side effects, it is commonly used in skin, breast and respiratory infections, as well as in HIV patients to deal with the Mycobacterium avium.
- Azithromycin. Derived from erythromycin and with a long half-life, its administered dose is once a day. Highly effective against bronchitis, pneumonia, and sexually transmitted or urinary tract diseases, as well as childhood infections.
- Ciprofloxacin. Broad spectrum, it directly attacks bacterial DNA, preventing it from reproducing. Effective against a long list of bacteria, it is usually reserved for antibiotic emergency, since it is safe and fast, but it belongs to the most resistant group of antibiotics of all: the fluoroquinolones.
- Cefadroxil. From the group of first-generation, broad-spectrum cephalosporins, this antibiotic is relevant against infections in the skin (wounds, burns), the respiratory system, bones, soft tissues and genitourinary infections.
- Loracarbef. Indicated in cases of otitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, pharyngitis or tonsillitis, but also for urinary infections, this antibiotic is a derivative of second-generation cephalosporins, belonging to a new class: carbacephem.
- Vancomycin. From the order of glycopeptides, it is naturally secreted by certain nocardial bacteria. It is very effective against gram positive, not negative, bacteria and is widely used, although many strains are naturally resistant to the drug.
- Amoxicillin. It is a derivative of penicillin, with a broad spectrum, effective in the treatment of respiratory and skin infections and a wide range of bacteria, which is why it is commonly used in human and veterinary medicine.
- Ampicillin. Also derived from penicillin, it has been used profusely since 1961 against meningococci and listerias, as well as pneumococci and streptococci, but especially enterococci.
- Aztreonam. Of synthetic origin, it has a very effective but very narrow spectrum: aerobic gram-negative bacteria. It is an ideal replacement in patients allergic to penicillin, as long as they are appropriate.
- Bacitracin. Its name comes from the girl from whose tibia the bacteria from which it is synthesized was extracted: Tracy. Its application is cutaneous and external, since it is harmful to the kidneys, but it is useful against gram-positive bacteria in wounds and mucous membranes. It is one of the antibiotics most responsible for the appearance of virulent and resistant strains.
- Doxycycline. It belongs to the tetracyclines, useful against gram positive and negative bacteria, and commonly used against pneumonia, acne, syphilis, Lyme disease and malaria.
- Clofazimine. Synthesized in 1954 against tuberculosis, against which it is not very effective, and it turned out to be one of the main agents against leprosy.
- Pyrazinamide. In combination with other drugs, it is the main treatment for tuberculosis.
- Sulfadiazine. Mainly prescribed against urinary tract infections, as well as toxoplasmosis, it is of delicate use as it presents side effects such as vertigo, nausea, diarrhea and anorexia.
- Colistin. Effective against all gram negative bacilli and against polyresistant bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Acinetobacter, altering the permeability of their cell membrane. However, it can have neuro and nephrotoxic effects.