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Contraindications for antibiotics refer to those circumstances under which these medications shouldn’t be used because they might be ineffective or dangerous. The group of medications under this umbrella is constantly growing, and each drug in this family has specific contraindications to consider before taking it. Before taking these or other medications, a medical history to collect information about past health problems, current drugs in use, and symptoms is an important tool to make sure patients get the right antibiotic. Broadly, some contraindications for antibiotics can include the nature of the infection, the patient’s age, existing medical conditions, and history.
Some examples of antibiotics include quinolones, cephalosporins, sulfonamides, and penicillins. These medications can be effective against fungi, bacteria, and parasites. Their range of efficacy depends on the type of medication, as no drugs can work against all organisms. A viral infection is among the contraindications for antibiotics, because the medications won’t kill viruses or offer other benefits to the patient.
One consideration when recommending antibiotics is knowing the cause of the infection. If a culture is available with specific information about the organism, this can narrow down the treatment options. In cases where the details aren’t known, the best option is a broad spectrum antibiotic known to work against infections of that type. Another issue can be the level of resistance in the organisms involved, or the risk of resistance based on the type of infection. Ineffective drugs shouldn’t be used, and it may be necessary to perform a culture to find a medication that will work.
Age can sometimes be a contraindication for antibiotics. Young patients may be more at risk of bad reactions to medication, and in other cases, not enough data is available on safety in children. If possible, a narrow range of drugs known to be safe may be used. A more aggressive medication may be recommended if the patient has a serious infection. Pregnant women can also be at risk of complications with some medications.
Existing medical conditions and patient history may be important contraindications for antibiotics. People with liver or kidney disease may not be able to process some medications. In other cases, antibiotics can be involved in drug interactions that cause bad reactions. A history of allergies to particular medications is another strong contraindication, as the patient could experience a severe allergic response with another exposure. Medications in the same class may also be excluded from the options for a patient, in the interests of safety.