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The discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928 and its subsequent mass production in the 1940s made a real revolution in medicine. Many life-threatening bacterial infections have become curable. Meanwhile, surgery reached a new level due to the possibility of prevention of postoperative infections. Today, antibiotics represent a wide group of drugs active against bacterial and even some fungal diseases. There are also antibiotics that cope with the simplest bacteria, and even inhibit the growth of tumor cells.
The first antibiotics were of biological origin. Natural producers of these drugs are certain kinds of molds, actinomycetes, higher plants, etc. Later, pharmacists learned to produce semi-synthetic drugs, which in some cases show greater efficiency, and are less likely to cause the resistance of bacteria. Now, some lists of antibiotics include fully synthetic antibacterial medicines. Contraindications for the use of antibiotics by adults can be certain diseases of the liver, kidneys, and cardiovascular system. The latter is usually diagnosed in men. Therefore, before starting to use antibacterial drugs, you should consult a doctor.
Antibiotics can destroy or inhibit the growth of bacteria and some other microorganisms. For example, today there are drugs active against the simplest bacteria and fungi. The action of antibiotics is based on two principles:
The drug affects the bacteria by destroying its wall, leading to the death of the microorganism. The spectrum of such antibiotics are penicillins, gentamicin, and others. They act very quickly. The standard treatment course lasts from 5 to 7-10 days.
This is an auxiliary medication that stops the reproduction of bacteria, thereby limiting their number. The action of antibiotics of this group suggests that the remained pathogens will be destroyed by the human immune system. Such drugs include laevomycetin, erythromycin, tetracycline.
Action spectrum of antibiotics
In 1885, when studying the causative agent of typhus, bacteriologist Hans Gramm discovered an interesting property of bacteria: some of them change color when colored with chemicals, and others remained practically discolored. Such a different reaction to the colorant became an important method of identification of microorganisms, as it indicated the property of their walls.
Modern medicine divides the bacteria into:
The spectrum of action of the antibiotics depends on the type of bacteria they can destroy. There are specialized drugs, designed for only one or several pathogens (for example, anti-tuberculosis antibiotics). Others are effective against gram-positive or with gram-negative bacteria. However, the broad-spectrum drugs are effective for both types of bacteria. The list of such antibiotics includes:
The choice of the spectrum of action of antibiotics depends on the diagnosis and method of treatment. In some cases, the drugs are prescribed based on the clinical picture (even before receiving the results of tests). Such therapy is characteristic for otitis, angina, and community-acquired pneumonia. Sometimes, the treatment should be started as soon as possible, and there is no time to determine pathogens (for example, in the case of meningitis). In such cases, doctors usually prescribe broad-spectrum drugs.