The development of antibiotics is among the most valuable advancements in the history of medicine. Common infections, once considered life-threatening, are now quickly and completely cured with short courses of antibiotic treatment. In recent decades, however, the harms caused by the overuse of antibiotics have been clearly recognized and the concept of ‘antibiotic stewardship’ has become a core tenet of responsible medical practice.
As with any medication, the decision to take an antibiotic involves an assessment of both the potential benefits of treatment as well as the potential harms. With regard to potential benefits, it is imperative to recognize that antibiotics only offer benefits for infections caused by bacteria. Furthermore, specific bacterial strains are treatable only by specific antibiotics. Using the wrong antibiotic, or worse yet, using an antibiotic when suffering from an infection that is caused by a virus offers no potential benefit to the patient.
The potential harms of antibiotics need also be underlined. For example, antibiotics frequently cause diarrhea and nausea. Occasionally diarrhea can be severe and dangerous. Antibiotics are also common causes of allergic reactions, or may cause dangerous interactions with other medications. There are also potential side-effects that are specific to a given antibiotic.
As important as these individual considerations are, even more important is the impact that inappropriate antibiotic use has on society as a whole. The use of antibiotics promotes strains of bacteria that are resistant to treatment thus creating new and deadly disease processes with limited options for cure.
For these reasons, the decision to use an antibiotic, or any medication for that matter, should not be taken lightly. The illnesses intended to be treated with the Packs have been selected based on both the frequency of occurrence and the simplicity of diagnosis. These medications are chosen based on both efficacy and safety. Nonetheless, we recommend that you consult with a healthcare professional if possible before you take any of the medications contained in your Pack.
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