Antibiotics – part 1

AB

 

Various infections are going round these days, and people are picking up antibiotics at our pharmacy quite often. In this article, I will inform you about the different groups of antibiotics, and things you need to know while using one of them.

 

First of all, penicillin

Examples include Apocillin, Amoxicillin, Selexid and Diclocil among others.

This is an old group, discovered by Alexander Fleming, which gave the breakthrough of antibiotic research.

Need-to-know: They are often dosed very frequently, like 3-4 times daily because of their short half-life. They’re often a first choice because of their regularly narrow range of action.

 

Macrolides

Examples include Ery-max, Klacid and Azitromax

This drug group is often used for patients with penicillin allergies. Their dosage frequency varies a lot.

Avoid grapefruit-juice when using Ery-max and Klacid, because it affects the metabolism of the drugs and can give an increased amount of side effects among other things.

 

Tetracyclines

Examples include Tetralysal, Tetracycline and Oracea.

This is a group with broader range of activity. They are often used against acne or airway infections.

When using all kinds of tetracyclines, be aware of the effect ions like calcium, magnesium or iron can give, because they bind up and inactivate the drug. Let it be at least 2 hours between intake of tetracyclines and dairy products, iron supplements etc.

Also, be careful with sunbathing because these drugs may increase the risk of photosensitivity reactions. Use sun block.

 

Fluoroquinolones

Examples including Ciprofloxacin, Tarivid

Avoid dairy products at the same time; let it be at least 2 hours in between.

Be careful with sunbathing.

 

Lastly, it’s important to follow what you physician prescribed regarding length of treatment and dose frequency. If you end your antibiotic course before what was planned, the infection may flare up again and resistance may take place which can make the infection harder to cure.

Having the flu vaccine or not

So the yearly flu vaccine has just arrived the drug marked, and you wonder if you should have it. Several health organizations have made a list regarding risk groups that are recommended to take it. The most important risk groups are as following:

 

Health professionals that work closely with patients

Pregnant women

Inhabitants in nursing homes

Several obesity (BMI above 40)

Reduced immune system

Diabetes (type 1 and 2)

People over 65 years old

Chronic diseases like COPD

 

If you don’t belong to any of these risk groups, there is no medical grounds for why you should take it. Nevertheless, it’s voluntary and it’s  quite exhausting to be laid up in bed for 1-2 weeks.

Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids

 

omega

 

Here in the Scandinavian countries we are very concerned about our intake of fish and omega fatty acids. Here is a short introduction to the theme and what you ought to know.

Omega 3

Omega 3 (DHA and EPA) are the most important essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are important for several brain functions and positive health effects regarding heart conditions and rheumatic illnesses among other things. The national recommendations here are that unless you eat fish 2-3 times per week for dinner, you should use omega 3 supplements to cover the requirements (1-3 grams daily).

Omega 3 fatty acids are especially found in fat fish like salmon, trout, mackerel and herring among others. If you do not like fish, you can find some amounts (ALA) in foods like walnuts, canola oils, linseed, algae and soybeans.

Omega 6

Omega 6 (AL) is found in different oils like soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, margarine and different types of nuts and corns. This is also an essential fatty acid, which is not produced by the body itself. Modern diets have more than a satisfactory intake of omega 6 acids during the day, so the need for supplements of this fatty acid is overrated and rather unnecessary in most instances.

Omega 9

The body itself through saturated fatty acids can produce omega 9 fatty acids, so they are not essential for humans. You find omega 9 in olive oil, almond oil, walnuts, animal fat, fish, avocado and many other oils. Under no circumstances do you need a supplement of omega 9, because the body takes care of the production.

 

Fatty acids abbreviation Full name Omega species
DHA Docosahexaenoic acid Omega 3
EPA Eicosapentaenoic acid Omega 3
ALA α-linolenic acid Omega 3
LA Linoleic acid Omega 6
OA Oleic acid Omega 9
EA Erucic acid Omega 9

 

Hope you all have a healthy and omega-filled wednesday!