Complete 4 pages APA formatted article: The advantages and disadvantages of using antibiotics. Center of discussion in this paper are antibiotics, one class of antimicrobials, a larger group which also includes anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic drugs. They are reasonably harmless to humans, and thus can be used to cure infections caused by bacteria. The term was coined by Selman Waksman, originally described only those formulations derived from living organisms, in contrast to “chemotherapeutic agents”, that were synthetic. Antibiotics are normally safe and very helpful in fighting disease, but there are situation where antibiotics can be harmful. Despite these side effects, the discovery of antibiotics in the 1940’s has transformed medical practise and radically reduced illness and death from infectious diseases. Unlike previous treatments for infections, which included poisons such as strychnine and arsenic, antibiotics were labelled “magic bullets”: drugs which targeted disease without harming humans. The development of these antimicrobial drugs fostered the idea that bacteria had been defeated. One of the primary concerns of present day medical practise is antibiotic resistance. In other words, if an antibiotic is used long enough, bacteria will mutate that enable it to withstand the antibiotic. This is known as antibiotic resistance. There are many cases of Infections today that are caused by bacteria resistant to some antibiotics. The existence of such antibiotic-resistant bacteria creates the danger of life-threatening infections that don’t respond to antibiotics. (Current Issues in Medicine and Antibiotics, 2006). Today, virtually all important bacterial infections in the United States and throughout the world are becoming resistant. Antibiotic resistance can cause major danger and suffering for children and adults who have common infections, once easily treatable with antibiotics (Current Issues in Medicine and Antibiotics, 2006). Humans are dying of bacterial infections that were treatable a few years ago (Shnayerson and Plotkin, 2003).
Antibiotics are designed to attach to enzymes on bacterial cell walls, either preventing the microbes from replicating or killing them outright. Unless, that is, the bacteria mutate and change their enzymes, thus preventing the drug from attaching (Shnayerson and Plotkin, 2003). One of the reasons for the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria is the overuse and misues of it (Current Issues in Medicine and Antibiotics, 2006).