Broad-spectrum antibiotics are effective in destroying a large number of bacteria. Find out what they are, how they work and what the consequences of ingesting too much of them are in this article.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics can significantly reduce bacterial populations by destroying many different microorganisms. Meanwhile, narrow-spectrum antibiotics are used only for specific types of bacteria.
They are usually bactericidal. Therefore, they do not destroy bacteria. Instead, they prevent growth and reproduction. As a result, the bacterial population ends up disappearing. This action consists of inhibiting the protein synthesis in bacteria, which prevents them from multiplying.
Because they are so effective, one of the major problems is that they can end up eradicating healthy bacteria that are good for our endogenous flora.
All in all, there are very many types of antibiotics. This is due to the development of new antibiotics to replace the old and ineffective types. After all, bacteria often end up developing resistance to these drugs.
Let’s take a look at some of the different types.
Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid
This type of antibiotic has a different mechanism of action.
It goes with two connections. On the one hand, amoxicillin inhibits bacterial wall synthesis. Meanwhile, clavulanic acid retains the role of amoxicillin by strengthening it.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics like this are commonly used to treat respiratory infections. Thanks to its widespread and inaccurate use, amoxicillin and clavulanic acid develop a lot of resistance and cause a global health problem.
Tetracyclines are a series of compounds that have a chemical structure and overall mechanism of action. They are all meant to inhibit protein synthesis in bacteria.
Their medicinal uses are quite limited. This is due to the potentially toxic effects they have on the body. Doctors usually prescribe them to treat chlamydia, brucellosis or mycoplasma.
Chloramphenicol also works by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis.
It is used to treat infections caused by salmonella, some types of meningitis (meningitis), and pneumonia (pneumonia).
This type of antibiotic is also broad-spectrum, although it is more specific.
As with the other types, the mechanism of action is to inhibit protein synthesis.
Erythromycin is considered one of the less toxic types of antibiotics. It is used to treat certain cases of pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae or Legionella pneumophila.
Resistance to broad-spectrum antibiotics
Broad-spectrum antibiotics can be an excellent alternative for treating certain infections. However, the excessive use of them causes a widespread health problem due to resistance.
Any type of antibiotic can cause resistance. Bacterial strains can mutate and develop rapidly. Therefore, some will simply become resistant to the compound.
The problem gets worse when these resistant strains continue to infect the population and there are no effective antibiotics to fight them. As a result, new types of antibiotics (second- and third-generation antibiotics) are constantly being created. However, the problem continues, and new opponents emerge.
At the same time , cross-resistance is also a problem. This happens when a type of bacterium becomes resistant to antibiotics in addition to other narrow-spectrum antibiotics.
Because of this, it is absolutely necessary to raise awareness of the dangers of overuse of antibiotics. Resistance is already affecting global health, causing infections that we thought we had eradicated to reappear.
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.