Symptoms and Signs of Antibiotics

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 8/9/2021

Doctor's Notes on Antibiotics

Antibiotics frequently prescribed medications that are used to cure disease by killing or injuring bacteria. The first antibiotic was penicillin and today over 100 different antibiotics are used to cure everything from minor to life-threatening infections. The main classes of antibiotics include penicillins, cephalosporins, macrolides, fluoroquinolones, sulfonamides, tetracyclines, and aminoglycosides. Antibiotics will only treat bacterial infections. They are useless against viral infections such as the common cold and fungal infections such as ringworm

Common side effects of antibiotics may include soft stools or diarrhea or mild stomach upset. Tell your doctor if you have more serious side effects while taking antibiotics including

What Is the Treatment for the Side Effects of Antibiotics?

The treatment for the side effects of antibiotics depends on the side effect and the severity. 

  • For severe allergic reactions, emergency care with epinephrine or other intravenous medications may be used
  • For gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea, vomiting, or severe diarrhea, the medication may need to be stopped or changed
    • Do not stop taking any prescribed any medication without first talking to your doctor
  • Taking probiotics along with antibiotics may decrease the incidence of serious side effects
    • Discuss the use of probiotics with your doctor.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.