Antibacterials are similar to antibiotics but with a difference: originally antibiotics were derived from moulds and fungi, whereas antibacterials were developed from chemicals. Early antibacterials like the sulpha-drugs were derived industrial dyes that was metabolized by the body into sulphanilamide, the active antibacterial ingredient. Sulpha drugs, introduced in the 1930s, have proved to be effective against many bacterial infections.
Sulphonamides followed the original sulpha drugs. Bacterial resistance to sulpha drugs, like that of resistance to antibiotics, have resulted in doctors switching over to antibiotics that are more effective and safe. But the days of the sulphonamide antibacterials are not yet over.
Sulphonamides reach high concentrations in the urine. They are therefore useful in treating infections of the urinary tract. They are also used for chlamydia, pneumonia and for some middle ear infections; sulphacetamide is often included in topical preparations for skin, eye and other ear infections. Sulphamethoxazole, in combination with trimethoprim, often in a single large dose (also known as co-trimoxazole), is used for bladder infections, certain types of bronchitis and some gastrointestinal infections.
There are of course a range of antibacterials that are not sulphonamides: those used against leprosy, TB and malaria; those used against protozoal infections (like metronidazole, diloxanide furoate). There are others, also known as antimicrobials, include metronidazole, used for a variety of genital infections, and some serious infections in the abdomen, pelvic region, the heart and central nervous system. Nalidixic acid and nitrofurantoin are effective as antiseptics for the urinary tract, and are used to cure or prevent recurrent infections.
Antibacterials work by preventing the growth and multiplication of the organisms, somewhat similar to antibiotics.
Antibacterials may take several days to wipe out the bacteria. During this time additional medication to relieve pain and fever is usually advised. Sulphonamides in particular can cause loss of appetite, rash, nausea and drowsiness.
Risks and special precautions of antibacterials include allergic reactions, rashes and fever. The doctor should be consulted in case a change of antibacterial is required.
Serious, but rare risks, with some sulphonamides include formation of crystals in the kidneys, a risk that can be reduced by drinking adequate amounts of fluid during prolonged treatment. Sulphonamides may occasionally damage the liver; they are not usually prescribed for people with liver problems. Damage to bone marrow is another possibility, leading to lowered production of white blood cells and increased chances of infection. Doctors therefore try avoiding use of sulphonamides for long periods. It is advisable to monitor the liver and blood content, during long-term treatment that may be absolutely necessary.
A person is said to be suffering from 'constipation' if he/she passes dry, hard stools less frequently than usual (once a day).
can be actual or chronic.
Constipation that occurs due to certain drugs, e.g., narcotic analgesics, antacids (containing aluminium), tricyclic antidepressants, or constipation that occurs due to certain disease, e.g., hypothyroidism (decreased production of thyroid hormones) and scleroderma (hardening of skin due to chronic inflammation), get cured once the causative drugs are stopped and the causative disease is cured.
is very common in :