Key differences between a bacteriostatic drug and a bactericidal med can be inferred from such an antibacterial drug’s ability to control infections. Bacteriostatic drugs can help control the microbe from multiplying further. In essence, such agents do not destroy microbial strands. On the other hand, bactericidal meds are those endowed with properties to decimate infectious or harmful bacteria. These meds may rupture the cell membranes of bacteria or may collapse the internal cell structure. Applications of these types of drugs vary to a greater extent; treatment plans make use of their unique properties based on your clinical condition. In this milieu, it is crucial to know if chloramphenicol – a widely used antibiotic, is a bactericidal or a bacteriostatic drug.

Infections caused by bacteria may vary depending on the microbe. Strength of your immunity level also has an influence in determining the nature of infections. There are however millions of bacteria, and each species is unique. Also, not all bacterial strands trigger an infection; bacteria are labelled as harmful when they suddenly multiply in large quantities. In other words, they outnumber the harmless or friendly microbes. In such cases, antibiotics are widely prescribed to treat bacterial infections. However, the ability of antibiotics to treat fungal or viral infections is very minimal or almost nil. Antibiotics are seldom used as over the counter (OTC) drugs; these cannot be bought without a doctor’s prescription.

If you are exposed to risks of an infection, the outcomes may not same for two individuals. Those with a weakened immune system may turn more vulnerable to infections. You may need to know that being invaded by a bacterial strand is not a rare thing. But, no two strands are the same. Symptoms of a possible bacterial attack can show up as inflammation, discoloration of the infected organ, pain, etc. If you consume infected water or food or if you live in an environment where such attacks are prevalent, the risks are pronounced. Coming in closer contact with an affected person may also trigger a bacterial infection.

Your doctor may prescribe a battery of tests, which can be performed in a clinical lab. Most commonly administered tests include complete blood count; this is done mainly to check the number (count) of white as well as red cells. Always remember that white blood cells are likely to multiply in very large numbers whenever your system is under a likely microbial attack. If it is a bacterial infection, chloramphenicol is one among the antimicrobial drugs that is prescribed. It is hence a wise thing to understand if chloramphenicol is a bacteriostatic med or a bactericidal agent.

So, is chloramphenicol a bacteriostatic or a bactericidal drug?

Bacteriostatic drugs help check the progression of bacteria. These drugs do not kill or destroy the harmful microorganism. In general, medicines may behave like a bacteriostatic substance when taken at a lower dosage value; the same drug – at a higher dosage level – may turn into a bactericidal. The good thing about chloramphenicol is – it works against a very large spectrum of bacteria. However, excessive use of this drug may lead to an acute suppression of your bone marrow; this may show up as a drop in your red blood cells or can manifest as an anemic condition.

Chloramphenicol is currently made through artificial means; however, it was first sourced from traces of a bacteria belonging to the Streptomyces family. This antibiotic is known for its fairly simple composition; it has the rare privilege of being the first few drugs with a large treatment spectrum. Chloramphenicol is essentially a bacteriostatic med. It works by limiting the availability of proteins to bacterial strands. Once needful protein content is cut off, the microbe finds it difficult to reproduce or multiply as large colonies.

Chloramphenicol – Mode of working

In low doses, it is not known to cause many serious side effects. It is widely used to treat diseases like cholera. For eye conditions such as a pinkeye or conjunctivitis, chloramphenicol is used in the form of an eye drop or as an ointment. In general, the drug’s use is restricted to treat only near-fatal infectious conditions such as typhoid. This drug is soluble in lipids. This can hence it to get diffused into microbes, through the walls of their cells. Soon after intake, the active ingredients get bound to the protein units of microbial DNA. Once this process starts, bacteria will find it very difficult to make peptide bonds or chains. These chains are the building blocks for bacterial progression or formation of colonies.

This drug is absorbed into your system with relative ease. It is usually made available through absorption from your gastric tract. In case of IV administration, bio-availability of the active ingredients is ~69%; on the other hand, through oral means – its bio-availability hovers at more than 77%. Clinical studies indicate, the half-life period of this drug is around 3 hours. This is the duration observed among healthy adults – especially those who have a normal functioning of their kidneys and liver. However, those living with kidney problems may witness a half-life of about four hours.

How to use chloramphenicol in a safe manner?

Of all the forms of application, eye drops or ointment made of chloramphenicol needs added precautions. As a safe practice, it is not recommended to let the tube (ointment) or the dispenser (of eye drops) to come in direct contact with your eyes. Upon applying the eye drop or ointment, never use or take any other meds for at least 20 minutes. For better results, apply the medication at the same timeslot every day. This is likely to yield far better outcomes – and also, within a shorter span of time. If you are noticing any side effects such as a burning sensation, reddening of eyes or blurring of vision – talk to your treating doctor as quickly as you possibly can.

In general, eye drop variant of chloramphenicol is not likely to trigger acute reactions. But, in some extremely rare instances, permanent changes of vision have been observed. This drug may cause some allergies among a few users; allergic reactions may include inflammation, dizziness, respiratory problems such as gasping, wheezing, etc. If you are observing any of these side effects, you need to take medical help on an emergency basis. Those who are living in the US need to call 911 urgently. On the other hand, if you are living in any of the Canadian provinces, reach out to Health Canada. You can also get in touch quickly with a poison control center which is located closer to your home.

You need to remember that the above-listed side effects or allergies do not constitute a full list of undesired side effects. So, if you observe any unknown or new discomforts, consult with your doctor or a pharmacist without any delay. In sum, chloramphenicol is a bacteriostatic drug. It is used to treat diseases like cholera, typhoid and a few eye infections such as conjunctivitis. As the active ingredients are soluble in lipid, it can enter into cells of bacteria and halt their growth. Always ensure that you are taking this drug under the supervision of a qualified doctor; in other words, stay away from using this drug as an over the counter med. For all other queries about this drug, talk to your medical team about the benefits as well as possible risks associated with its intake.

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