Also referred to as antibacterials, antibiotics are forms of medications that kill or reduce bacteria growth. Some bacteria are beneficial while others cause infections. Antibiotics play the role of treating bacteria-related infections. Infections such as tuberculosis, syphilis, and salmonella are examples of such contagions. To ensure effective use, the medical field conducts relevant studies regarding antibiotics, their function, possible allergic reactions, and the best way of using them. In essence, the medical field uses antibiotics to save lives by fending off bacterial infections.
The United States Library of Medicine defines antibiotics as powerful medications that destroy bacterial infections. If used properly, they kill bacteria or prevent them from reproducing. The body’s immune system works to destroy bacteria when they start to multiply. In most cases, the body’s immune system is able to cope with and overcome the attack. However, other occasions require assistance from antibiotics when the attack is too strong. The medical field administers antibiotics to cull microorganisms such as parasites and fungi. They are, however, not useful against viruses. Medical practitioners are, therefore, called upon in order to perform tests designed to identify the cause of the illness. For instance, most infections in the upper respiratory tract are caused by viruses and, therefore, do not warrant the use of antibiotics.
Nordqvist (2) states that there is a cause for concern in the medical field over misuse of antibiotics (p.9). Incase they overused or used incorrectly, there are high chances of the bacteria developing resistance. The antibiotic is hence rendered ineffective against that particular strain of bacteria. Medical practitioners used a wide range of antibiotics to treat numerous infections. There are two types of antibiotics used in this field. These include those that attack aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. The difference is centered on the premise that aerobic bacteria require oxygen while anaerobic bacteria do not.
Mayo Clinic (1) states that medical practitioners also administer antibiotics in advance to prevent infection such as before surgery (p. 32). Such instances are referred to as prophylactic implementation of antibiotics. This use is commonly applied before orthopedic or bowel surgery. Certain conditions also make it necessary for a patient to undergo prophylactic implementation of antibiotics. An example is people already suffering from a medical condition that makes them vulnerable to contracting an infection. For example, patients suffering from sickle cell anemia are required to take antibiotics due to improper functioning of their spleens. Medical practitioners also recommend antibiotic prophylaxis in case one has a wound or bite with a high chance of contracting an infection.
The current medical field acknowledges the fact that resistance of bacteria to antibiotics is a cause for concern. The other issue that affects future antibiotic studies is the reducing rates of antibiotic approval by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). New antibiotic development, traditional practices for controlling infection and antibiotic stewardship seem to be the foundation of society’s approach to fighting drug resistance. The medical field emphasizes that dwindling antibiotic research and antibiotic resistance continue to deteriorate despite positive efforts for improvement. Nordqvist (2) reiterates that if the medical field is to establish countermeasures with significant effects, then new ideas complementing traditional approaches need to be applied (p.18).
Medial practitioners look to base new ideas on traditional facts. Primarily, resistance comes from many years of bacteria being exposed to antibiotics. Therefore, even if inappropriate antibiotics would be eliminated, bacteria would still attain resistance albeit at low rates. As stated above, traditional facts need to be applied to achieve this. Alexander Fleming is credited with the invention of penicillin in 1929. He, however, understood the limitations of this antibiotic. In 1945, he stated that the medical field should work to prevent the overuse of penicillin to prevent bacteria from attaining resistance.
In 2009, nearly 65 years later, the United States administered more than three million kilos of antibiotics to human patients. A staggering thirteen million kilos were administered to animals in 2010. Most of the antibiotics used on animals were meant to increase livestock numbers. Spellberg et al (3) argue that antibiotic resistance cannot be confronted unless the medical field ceases to expose the environment to large antibiotic quantities (p. 1). Future research in antibiotics looks to reduce resistance through public reports on antibiotic use in health centers. This strategy intends to enable global benchmarking, development that enables providers to prevent unnecessary use of antibiotics. Collapse of antibiotic research and increased resistance are the cornerstones of future policies and standards in the medical field.
In conclusion, it
is prudent to acknowledge the role of antibiotics in the medical field. The
environment is composed of numerous organisms including bacteria. Antibiotics
are designed to kill or reduce infection-causing bacteria in the body. In other
cases, they are also used in situations where infection is expected to occur
such as before performing surgery. Indeed, antibiotics play a fundamental role
in saving lives and improving health. However, the medical field is grappling
with the issue of bacterial resistance that renders antibiotics ineffective. This
predicament is partly caused by overuse and mismanagement of antibiotics. As
such, research studies in the medical field focus on establishing ways of
controlling this vice and establishing relevant policies and standards.
1. Mayo Clinic. Antibiotics: Misuse puts you and others at risk. [Online]. London: Plancorsh; 2013 [updated 2013 July 13; cited Nove 26] Available from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antibiotics/FL00075
2. Nordqvist C. What are Antibiotics. How do Antibiotics Work [Online]. New York: MediLexicon Intl; 2013 [updated 2013 Nov 24; cited Nov 26] Available from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/10278.php
3. Spellberg B, Bartlett GJ, and Gilbert ND. The future of Antibiotics and Resistance [Online]. Los Angeles: The New England Journal of Medicine; 2013 [updated 2013 May 9; cited 2013 Nov 26] Available from: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1215093.