Antibiotics are antimicrobial meds used for the treatment of bacterial infections. These meds have only limited / no capability to treat microbial growth apart from bacteria. For instance antibiotics may have no effect on fungal or viral attacks. Though viral infections and bacterial attacks may show up with almost similar signs, it is important to take antibiotics only when it is necessary. In this light, can you buy antibiotic drugs through over the counter (OTC) route? It is a wise thing to know more.

Antibiotics are drugs widely used for many types of conditions such as infections in your eye, on skin, gastric infections, etc. Care must be taken while taking these meds; people who took them when there is no underlying need soon turned resistant to these drugs. This means – microbes may evade the active ingredients of antibiotics when the use is unwarranted.

Can you buy antibiotics through the OTC route?

In general, antibiotics that are taken orally are not approved for over the counter purchases. In some cases, topical drugs – such as skin creams or antibiotic ointments – can be procured through OTC mode. Such meds are used for treating wounds, minor burn injuries as well as scrapes. A few of the OTC drugs in this realm is neomycin (a popular brand is called Neosporin), bacitracin / generics of polysporin, etc. If you are down with conditions like acne, drugs such as benzoyl peroxide are used through the OTC route.

In case of topical drugs, when you are overusing such meds, their main ingredients may cause rashes, give a burning sensation and may develop an irritable condition on skin. Bacterial forms are also fast evolving. It often needs the expertise of a qualified medical practitioner to understand the type of infection and then choose a med that best cures your medical condition. Your treating doctor – in almost all cases – seeks inputs on the signs of infections, your clinical history and if you have any other / pre-existing medical conditions.

Each antibiotic is made to arrest a specific strand / a few strands of bacterial growth. Hence, one type of antibiotic cannot be used in an interchangeable manner. Of course, there are antibiotic meds with a relatively wide therapeutic bandwidth; these are known as broad-spectrum antibiotics. Drugs of this genre that work against a single strand of bacteria are known as narrow-spectrum meds.

On this vein, it becomes important to know that nearly 200 million prescriptions are written each year for the intake of antibiotics in the US. Most of the antibiotics may need a prescription from a qualified clinical practitioner. Also, an antibiotic that works well for you need not work well for another person. This is largely attributed to age, gender and strength of dose, intensity of bacterial attack as well as presence of other ailments, if any.

It is equally important to follow the dosage instructions of your treating doctor all through the medication plan. People who took an overdose of antibiotics are likely to witness abdominal problems such as nausea, pain in abdomen, vomiting as well as a few other gastric discomforts. In some cases, overdose has led to swelling of facial organs, inflammation and internal bruising.

Upon sensing any of these discomforts / adverse side effects, it is highly recommended to talk to your treating physician. If you are a resident of the US, call 911 or reach out to a helpdesk of the food and drug administration (FDA). On the other hand, of you are living in any of the Canadian provinces, rush to a local poison control center or call Health Canada as quickly as you possibly can. In general, you are advised to take antibiotics under the supervision and as per directions of a qualified medical professional and / or a pharmacist.

Leave a Reply