Fact or Myth: Does The Risk of Antibiotics Outweigh The Benefits?

This is a fact.

Leaving the doctor’s office without a prescription for an antibiotic in hand can feel like a waste of time. The words “viral infection” make us cringe, and often, we argue with the doctor anyway, begging for an antibiotic that will do nothing to make the virus pass, either more quickly or more comfortably.

The argument that “it can’t hurt” holds no weight, as widespread antibiotic use adversely affects not only the individual, but also the global community.

Antibiotics do not help cure viral infections, such as those that cause the common cold, the flu or bronchitis. Despite this fact, more than half of antibiotic prescriptions filled are for people with viruses!

Every time you take an antibiotic, its ability to combat the very bacteria it is designed to treat deteriorates, leaving you vulnerable to infections and without recourse to treat them. Antibiotic resistant infections linger longer, require more expensive and more harmful medications, entail more doctor visits and tests, and may even cause death.

Take for instance, drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis (TB), which cost more, take longer to work (in some cases 2 or more years), and cause more severe side effects than do non-resistant TB drugs.

Antibiotic Resistance and Mainstream Media

The more we use antibiotics, the less effective they become; antibiotics unintentionally tell the bacteria how to resist them in the future! Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the perfect example of the virulent nature of antibiotic resistance. MRSA used to only be a threat to hospital patients, but a newer form of MRSA has evolved and is now infecting healthy people outside of the hospital as well.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), if we continue to use antibiotics at this rate, the medications we have come to depend on will no longer work, in effect taking us back to the Stone Age, when every infection was deadly.

Mainstream media has not done its due diligence in alerting the public of the dangers of widespread antibiotic use – neither has the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The large pharmaceutical companies that manufacture antibiotics control both the mainstream media and the FDA. antibiotic resistance

The media depends on the pharmaceutical companies’ advertising revenue and is wary of disrupting this relationship by reporting on the opposing view.

The FDA receives 50% of its funding from its reviews of medications that come directly from the pharmaceutical companies. Not wishing to rock the boat, the FDA rarely reports drug toxicities. FDA employees are notoriously offered high-income positions at the very companies they are supposed to be regulating.

Dr. Herbert Ley, former commissioner of the FDA, explains, “What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks the FDA is doing is as different as night and day.”

Many patients, and even some doctors, are kept in the dark as to the dangerous complications of antibiotic resistance. Some little known side effects include…

  • Joint pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Depression

Furthermore, 25% of antibiotic resistance users suffer from diarrhea, 1 in 1000 are hospitalized for severe allergies and others suffer from less-severe allergic reactions, such as rashes. Many side effects go unreported.

And let’s not forget that antibiotics not only kill the “bad” bacteria, but also destroy the “good” bacteria that keep us healthy.

The most dangerous form of antibiotics is quinolones, with Levaquin, Vancomycin and Bactrim the most injurious. They have been shown to cause severe and permanent disabilities. It has proven difficult to monitor the risks associated with quinolones, because side effects may manifest months after taking the antibiotic, making the connection easy to miss.

Professor of medicine and chief of clinical pharmacology at Indiana School of Medicine, David Flockhart, claims that one-third of patients taking a quinolone will suffer from some type of psychiatric effect, such as depression, anxiety or personality disorder. Unfortunately, many doctors ignore, misunderstand or dismiss these dangerous complications.

What You Can Do to Minimize the Risks of Antibiotic Resistance

Only use antibiotics for bacterial infections, some fungal infections and certain parasites. Opt for antibiotics that have a long-history of use and don’t damage the liver, kidneys or connective tissue, such as Penicillin, Amoxicillan, Cephalexin (Keflex) and Erythromycin. Take exactly as advised and do not take antibiotics without a prescription.

Better still, investigate natural alternatives to antibiotics in order to avoid dangerous side effects.

These alternatives include: manuka honey, the healing properties of which, in some instances go beyond those of traditional antibiotics, especially in wound care and anti-bacterial activity; goldenseal, a powerful natural antibiotic that helps treat sore throats as well as digestive infections; oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium), which arrests urinary tract infections when taken as a tea; and many more alternatives for practically any health condition. You can find them by looking at natural remedies found here on Underground Health Reporter.