The discovery of the first true antibiotic—penicillin—in 1928 was one of the most life-changing events of the 20th century. Before its discovery, when bacterial infections developed, there wasn’t much doctors could do. People died from illnesses and injuries that are highly curable today. Now, there are more than 100 antibiotics to fight the war against bacterial infections. Here is a look at common antibiotic names and the types of antibiotics your doctor may prescribe.
1PenicillinsThe first penicillin gave rise to an entire class of antibiotics known as penicillins. Penicillins are derived from a specific mold (a type of fungi)—Penicillium. They are widely useful antibiotics that are often a doctor’s first choice for several types of infections. This includes skin, respiratory, ear, STDs and dental infections. They are highly effective against familiar organisms, such as staph and strep. Rashes and allergic reactions are common with penicillins. Other common side effects include diarrhea, nauseous , and abdominal pain. Examples of penicillins include:
2CephalosporinsCephalosporins are related to penicillins. They both belong to a larger class called beta lactams. Like penicillins, cephalosporins originally came from a fungus—Cephalosporium. There are five generations of cephalosporins. Each generation covers different types of bacteria. As a result, the class can treat a variety of infections, from strep throat and skin infections to very serious infections like meningitis . Because they are related to penicillins, some people with penicillin allergies may also react to cephalosporins. Other common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, hurt burn , and abdominal pain. Examples of cephalosporins include:
3MacrolidesMacrolides are a completely different class of antibiotics from the beta lactams. But they effectively treat many of the same infections. This includes respiratory, ear, skin, and sexually transmitted infections. So, they are very useful for people with allergies to beta lactams. They are also useful when bacteria develop resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics. However, macrolides have a lot of drug interactions. Be sure your doctor and pharmacist know about all your medications when you take a macrolide. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting , stomach pain, and diarrhea. Examples of macrolides include: