Antibiotics are medicines that can be used for bacterial and some fungal infections.

By Haseeb Ahmad, Dr. Muhammad Shoaib khan, Dr. Imran Ahmad and Amna Manzoor


Antibiotics do not work against viruses. Also known as antimicrobial drugs, antibiotics have saved countless lives. Well-known antibiotics include penicillin, tetracycline and chloramphenicol.

 Not all infections are treated with antibiotics. While antibiotics may be effective against infections caused by bacteria (germs), they are not effective against viruses.

What is antibiotic Resistance?

Antibiotics are also used far too often, and improper use is widespread. This has caused many different types of bacteria to become resistant (unresponsive) to antibiotics. Because resistance has become more common, many diseases cannot be treated as well as they could in the past. Excessive and improper use of antibiotics causes side effects, and in the long term reduces their effectiveness.

      In medicine, bacteria and other germs are said to be resistant “if they are especially able to withstand exposure to external influences”. For example, most germs that enter the stomach with food will be killed by stomach (gastric) acid. But some bacteria are covered with a mucous coating that protects them from the acid. They are resistant to gastric acid.

    Resistance to antibiotics works on a similar principle: The bacteria have acquired a new property that protects them from the antibiotic. Some types of bacteria can produce a substance that makes certain antibiotics ineffective, For example. Bacteria that can protect themselves from several different antibiotics are referred to as “multiresistant.”

 Causes of antibiotic resistance:-

Many of the bacteria that are now resistant used to be sensitive to antibiotics. There are a few developments that played a role in this. To put it briefly, one kind of antibiotic could originally neutralize a certain type of bacteria and then effectively stop the infection. But the genetic material of bacteria can change by chance, sometimes creating new properties. If they protect the bacteria from an antibiotic, then the bacteria have become resistant. These kinds of properties can also transfer from one type of bacteria to another.

If antibiotics are used very often, resistant bacteria are better able to reproduce because the other non-resistant strains of bacteria are stopped. Antibiotics then no longer help against infections caused by resistant bacteria.

In summary, the 6 main causes of antibiotics resistance have been lined to:

  • Over-prescription of antibiotics
  • Patients not finishing the entire antibiotic course
  • Overuse of antibiotics in livestock and fish farming
  • Poor infection control in health care settings
  • Poor hygiene and sensation
  • Absence of new antibiotics being discovered

Resistant strains of bacteria; and their harms:-

Strains of Streptococcus and Staphylococcus bacteria are often resistant to antibiotics. One example is called “methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus” (MRSA). Staphylococci can be found on skin and mucous membranes and may cause infection – for example if they get into open wounds.

Resistant strains have now developed in other types of bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella and pseudomonads.

What is being done about antibiotic resistance?

In Germany, antibiotics are prescription-only. This means that doctors are first and foremost responsible for careful and appropriate use. They are to first see whether someone actually has a bacterial infection. If they do, then it’s important that the antibiotic is prescribed at the right dose and for long enough, and that the right antibiotic is selected that will most effectively fight the bacteria.

There are also hygiene regulations to keep resistant bacteria from spreading further and preventable infections from occurring. These measures are especially important inside of a hospital. Antibiotics are used there relatively frequently, so resistant germs can develop quite quickly. If you come into contact with someone who has an infection of resistant bacteria, it can help to wear

  • Disposable gloves
  • A mask
  • Coat
  •  Hand disinfectant to stop the spread of the germs.

Antibiotics are also used in veterinary medicine and in agriculture. Veterinarians also have to comply with the rules for handling antibiotics properly.

Cautions to avoid antibiotic resistance:-

Being cautious when taking antibiotics can help prevent both antibiotic resistance and side effects. The most important thing is to not overestimate what antibiotics can do: Patients often expect antibiotics to be prescribed to treat medical conditions for which they are not suitable.

Antibiotics are needed to treat serious bacterial infections like lung infections or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes lining the brain and spinal cord). This is not the case when, for example, people who are otherwise healthy have respiratory infections caused by viruses, such as a cold or influenza (“the flu”). Antibiotics will usually be of no help because they only fight bacteria.

Antibiotics also have other side effects including:-

  • Allergic reactions
  • Stomach
  • Bowel problems
  • Nausea
  • Fungal infections.

     Because of these associated risks, it’s important to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of taking antibiotics.

 Directions for proper use of antibiotics:-

Antibiotics should be taken for as long as the doctor has prescribed them. Just because the symptoms of the illness subside, it doesn’t mean that all of the germs have been killed. Remaining bacteria may cause the illness to start up again.

If there are some tablets left over, they should not be kept for later use or given to other people. Leftover medication can be disposed of in the normal garbage or dropped off at some pharmacies. Pharmacies are not obligated to accept opened medicine though. It is important not to dispose of the medication by pouring it down the drain or flushing it down the toilet. That is bad for the environment and also contributes to bacterial resistance.

Medications can only work properly if they are used correctly. It’s important to know the following things when taking antibiotics:

  • Take the antibiotics as prescribed. It’s important to take the medication as prescribed by your doctor, even if you are feeling better. If treatment stops too soon, and you become sick again, the remaining bacteria may become resistant to the antibiotic that you’ve taken.
  • Do not skip doses. Antibiotics are most effective when they are taken as prescribed.
  • Do not save antibiotics. You might think that you can save an antibiotic for the next time you get sick, but an antibiotic is meant for your particular infection at the time. Never take leftover medicine. Taking the wrong medicine can delay getting the appropriate treatment and may allow your condition to worsen.
  • Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. These may not be appropriate for your illness, may delay correct treatment, and may allow your condition to worsen.
  • Talk with your health care professional. Ask questions, especially if you are uncertain about when an antibiotic is appropriate or how to take it.
  • All drugs have side effects. Let your health care professional know if you have new or unusual symptoms or side effects. You might need to stop the antibiotic causing a troublesome side effect and complete treatment with a different antibiotic.


Haseeb Ahmad, Dr. Muhammad Shoaib khan, Dr. Imran Ahmad and Amna Manzoor