Antibiotics are medicines that have anti-bacterial properties. This means that they are drugs that can kill bacteria or prevent them from multiplying within our body. However, they are ineffective against viruses which cause the common cold and viral influenza.
When the immune system in our body is healthy, it is able to fend off bacterial invasions effectively. The antibodies and white blood cells can usually destroy harmful bacteria before they can multiply sufficiently to cause symptoms of an illness. Even when symptoms do occur, a healthy body is still able to fight off the infection. But when our immune system is impaired, the body is unable to contain the bacterial infection and extra help is needed. This is where antibiotics come in.
Classes of Antibiotics
The following are the most common classes of antibiotics in use today:
Antibiotics are classified as narrow-spectrum drugs when they work against only a few types of bacteria. Broad-spectrum antibiotics, on the other hand, affect many types of bacteria. But, the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics presents the danger of promoting antibiotic resistance. For that reason, narrow-spectrum antibiotics, which usually cost less, are prescribed whenever possible. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are generally not prescribed unless the condition of the patient warrants it.
Bacteria feed by absorbing nutrients from the human host and growing until they are large enough to split in two. This is how bacteria reproduce and multiply. As they grow they have to produce more cell wall. Penicillin works by interfering with the bacteria cell wall building function. The growing bacteria eventually burst through their cell walls. This kills the bacteria and ends the infection. The commonly prescribed antibiotic for sinus infection by general practitioners is Amoxicillin.
Like penicillins, cephalosporins destroys bacteria by inhibiting bacterial cell wall synthesis. Ceftibuten dihydrate is a semisynthetic, third generation cephalosporins for oral administration. Besides being an effective antibiotic for sinus infection prescribed by ENT specialists today, cephalosporins are given to patients who are allergic to penicillins.
Macrolides work by slowing or blocking protein formation in bacteria. Their action is mainly bacteriostatic, which means that they do not directly destroy the bacteria but curb them from multiplying thereby allowing the body’s immune system to eradicate the organism. However, large doses of macrolides can also kill the bacteria. Macrolides cause very little allergy problems compared to the penicillins and cephalosporins. The most commonly prescribed macrolides are erythromycin and clarithromycin. Clarithromycin is the favorite antibiotic for sinus infection in this class of antibiotics prescribed by ENT specialists.
This is the latest and newest class of antibiotics. Fluoroquinolones kill bacteria by interfering with replication process of bacterial DNA. This is accomplished by binding to and inhibiting the action of one of the enzymes involved in DNA replication. Moxifloxacin is the preferred antibiotic for sinus infection in this class.
Which is the best antibiotic for sinus infection?
This is a difficult question to answer, really. The choice of the best antibiotic is dependent on many factors as follows:
1. How quickly the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream?
2. How quickly the body eliminates the drug?
3. The nature and severity of the illness.
4. The probability of allergies and other serious reactions or side effects to the drug.
5. The cost of the drug.
If it is a mild sinus infection, then a narrow-spectrum drug like Amoxicillin could be prescribed. If it is a chronic case of sinus infection, then the newer class of broad-spectrum antibiotics such as Moxifloxacin could be administered. It is sometimes difficult to gauge because what works for one may not work for another under similar conditions.
In other words, the best antibiotic for sinus infection is the one that is prescribed by your physician. He is in the best position to decide after taking into consideration the variety of factors mentioned earlier. However, it must also be noted that certain groups of people may have very strong adverse reactions to some classes of antibiotics. So care must be taken to watch out for symptoms of an allergic reaction.
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