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What is the difference between antibiotics and antibacterials?

Not all medications are the same. An antibiotic is not the same as an antibacterial, but what is the difference?

Knowing the difference between antibiotics and antibacterials is essential to avoid confusion when we have to resort to certain treatments in the presence of an infection. Often, the two terms are used interchangeably, although their definitions have nuances. In general, antibacterial drugs arederived from molds and bacteria or by chemical synthesis processes. The antibiotics are capable of acting on the cell wall of the microorganisms involved and cause interference with protein synthesis.

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Antibacterials

Logically, it should be agreed with the characteristics of the infection whenprescribing an antibacterial drug . In the most severe cases, when the infection is especially severe, it is usually necessary to administer antibacterial drugs. These are the cases in which the microorganismtends to develop resistance. The selection of drugs is entrusted to the evaluation of the symptoms , but it can be done with greater precision once the doctor has at his disposal the data provided by the possible laboratory tests. The samples taken from the patient can be analyzed before the therapy.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are distinguished by their broad- spectrum and reduced-spectrum action. The former are active against all types of bacteria, while the latter only act in some cases.

According to the concept of synergy , two antibiotics can increase their activity when used together. In fact, each of the two drugs will act on different microorganisms that cause the infection, making the therapy more effective.

However, the activity of two antibiotics can also fall on the same biological objective. Often, in the treatment of infections caused by microbes , the combination of drugs of this type is used, also for the prevention of the appearance of resistance to the antibiotic or to obtain a synergistic effect, which will act in a stronger against microorganisms that have frequent mutations.

Antibiotics can also be differentiated on the basis of the biological target . For example, penicillins and cephalosporins are capable of inhibiting the cell wall synthesis of bacteria, while, for example, tetracycline has the opportunity to make the protein synthesis inactive in microorganisms. It must be remembered that, being especially effective, antibiotics have side effects to be taken into account, such as gastrointestinal disorders and possible allergic reactions.

Remember that it is important not to self-medicate, should consult the doctor or pharmacist before taking any type of drug .

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