Antibiotics, not just pills…


Seated in the open canteen, sharing a nice a chat with one of our batch mates, I was struggling to go through my breakfast. A chat is always a good mode of motivation to forget that unique “canteen taste” and to get some food in.

“…I take two pills of antibiotics at a time, more than prescribed, because I need to recover soon…”

This was something I heard from right next to me, a true story , and most importantly, a proof showing the negligence of people on their own health. Most of us may have taken antibiotics at some point of our life. Being honest to yourself think of the number of times you have skipped or missed the prescribed dosage.

It is essential to be extra mindful when taking antibiotics because improper use of it has a higher tendency to affect the proper functioning of bio-chemical processes within our body. Simply, with regard to antibiotics, number of pills taken is not directly proportional to the rate of recovery!!!

Antibiotics are effective drugs for treating bacterial infections. It is a type of antimicrobial drug, or simply a group of defined bacteria which prevents the growth of disease causing bacteria. They kill or inhibit the growth of micro-organisms. Antibiotics cannot relieve the symptoms nor speed up the recovery for viral infections including common cold or flu. They are effective only for treating bacterial infections, it is neither a panacea nor an anti-inflammatory drug. In addition to general side effects and allergies including headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea, these medicines also affect the normal bacteria flora within the body and predispose to the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, which may render the treatment and the control of subsequent infection difficult. Therefore, following the prescribed instructions is vital when antibiotics are taken, otherwise it is difficult to treat the infections caused due to antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Antibiotics are prescribed as a course of treatment and essential to complete the whole course on schedule. It is dangerous to stop halfway or reduce the dosage once symptoms have subsided, because subsided symptoms do not mean that the bacteria have been completely killed.

In India, over 58 000 babies die in one year due to the infection with resistant bacteria usually passed on from their mothers.

In Thailand antibiotic resistant bacterial infections cause 38 000+ deaths and in USA it causes 23 000+ deaths per year.



Due to the development of antibiotic resistance by the disease causing bacteria ,the antibiotic becomes ineffective to cure the disease. Antibiotics are of many types each targeting at a different bacterial strain. Sharing antibiotics or leaving them for later use should be avoided because improper use of antibiotics delays recovery. It is completely inappropriate to increase/decrease the dosage with the intention of gaining a speedy recovery which may result negatively bringing us undesirable outcomes.

By Pramodya Wickramarachchi

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