Do antibiotics destroy viruses or bacteria? All you need to know – Wellness

Do antibiotics destroy viruses or bacteria? All you need to know - Wellness

Antibiotics are pharmacological substances used for therapeutic purposes, having in themselves specific indications and should be used with great caution. It is the sole medical responsibility of your prescription, based on the diagnosis.

It is incumbent upon the physician to investigate the presence or absence of allergies to antibiotics in the patient. The doctor should also explain the appropriate doses of the medicine, the strict schedule of the doses, the time needed for treatment and the adverse effects of the prescribed drugs.

Antibiotics act on bacteria in two ways: destroying them, designating this action as bactericidal, or inhibiting their replication, thus acting as bacteriostats. Therefore, antibiotics do not destroy viruses.

Antibiotics should be used when indicated and the selection of the group / class must correspond to the sensitivity of the bacterium in question, thus constituting an important medical act, for which the scientific knowledge of the disease, the drug of choice for its treatment as well as the type of patient to which it will be applied taking into account the individual characteristics.


They may also be used in antibiotic prophylaxis (before surgery) to prevent the occurrence of operative infections. They are a frequent cause of resistance if they are used improperly, and therefore the correct selection of the drug for the intended treatment is of vital importance.

Based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, more than 50% of the prescribed antibiotics are inadequately made and this is the main cause of antibiotic resistance.

In Portugal there is specific legislation in the competence of therapeutic prescription, being the same of medical responsibility, providing for the penalty in the illegal sale of antibiotics without prescription. Unfortunately, however, illegal sales are still being made (without a prescription).

Infarmed (Public Institute) is responsible for supervising these situations, which is not always easy. Portugal is one of the countries in Europe where rates of antibiotic resistance are very high.

As a result of these data, and concerned about this serious problem was created in Portugal the National Program for Prevention of Antibiotic Resistance (PNPRA), with the intention of reducing the rate of resistance to them and with the objective of sensitizing the professionals (doctors), and people who use them improperly (without their medical prescription), for the need for the rational use of antibiotics.

All parties involved in this procedure are responsible for the use of antibiotics in a judicious and sensible manner.

In short, antibiotics are indispensable in the treatment of infections, but must be prescribed by doctors, who must do so based on scientific evidence, always respecting the recommendations for this medical act and acting scrupulously according to the "legis artis" .

The explanations are from the doctor and university professor Antonieta Dias, specialist in General and Family Medicine.

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