Antibiotics & Contraceptives Essay Examples & Outline

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Antibiotics & Contraceptives

Question 1

Broad-spectrum antibiotics are used in the treatment of a wider range of diseases caused by bacteria. They are appropriate in use when the physician is unable to identify the bacteria that caused the infection. Broad spectrum antibiotics, therefore, can act on both gram positive and gram negative bacteria. They find application in situations when there is super-infection, a condition when the disease is caused by different types of bacteria (Anderson, 2012). Such situation warrants administering of broad-spectrum antibiotics or a combination of the antibiotic therapy. The clinician can administer the broad spectrum antibiotic when there is drug resistant bacteria that does not respond to narrow spectrum antibiotics.

It is inappropriate to administer broad spectrum antibiotics for relieving cough, cold and flu symptoms. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are readily available even as over the counter medicine, a worrying situation that could lead to drug resistance (Anderson, 2012). Development of multidrug-resistant strains of the bacteria places the risk not only at the community level but also at the globe. This is due to the fact that bacteria spread quickly, and their infective rate is also high. Such resistant strains pose a problem especially in the hospitalization costs and research. Furthermore, most of colds and flu are caused by influenza viruses (Edmunds & Mayhew, 2013). It would be ineffective to treat virus diseases with antibiotics since most of the viral infections are managed by immunization.

Common cold and flu keep most people away from jobs and even school. The symptoms associated with the common cold make individuals seek medical attention. Symptomatic treatment is the best approach against the common cold (Edmunds & Mayhew, 2013). The symptoms of flu or the common cold include headache, congestion, muscle ache, fever, and lacrimation among others. Some of the symptoms can be managed by administering painkillers, zinc supplements and decongestants. The health practitioner may recommend close monitoring in situations when there is severity of the symptoms.

Question 2

A female patient taking oral contraceptives should engage in discussion with the doctor. This is of relevance when the patient is taking antibiotics together with oral contraceptives (Coates, 2012). There is possible drug interaction between the contraceptives and antibiotics taken by the patients. In such cases, the patient should be forewarned of the impending dangers of getting pregnant. Caution needs to be taken in the dosing of oral contraceptives to avoid the associated side effects (Edmunds & Mayhew, 2013). The patient needs to understand that the low dosage of the contraceptives has a decreased efficacy when used concomitantly with the antibiotics.

Antibiotics interact with the oral contraceptives to result in low efficacy. Most birth control pills contain estrogen, and when used in combination with antibiotics, enzymes present in the liver contributes to the breakdown of the hormone. Some of the antibiotics kill the normal flora in the stomach which serves the primary role of activating the pills (Edmunds & Mayhew, 2013). Spotting is the first sign that indicates interaction of birth control pills and antibiotics. Examples of antibiotics that interact with oral contraceptives includes rifampin, sulfamethoxazole, ampicillin, minocycline among others.

Several considerations need to be put in place when discussing the issue of oral contraception and its interactions with antibiotics (Coates, 2012). In many societies, men become the primary decider of ways of having sex and may not recommend the use of alternative contraceptives such as condoms. Furthermore, personal values and beliefs can find an influence from the media and peer pressure. It is under the normal practice to give the patient information beforehand on the contraceptive choices for the best option (Coates, 2012).

Managing such drug interaction requires back up birth-control when antibiotics are administered at the same time. Backup methods of birth control have been recommended as ways of reducing the risk of getting pregnant while taking antibiotics (Anderson, 2012). Such approaches include abstinence, use of condoms or spermicide.


Anderson, R. J. (2012). Antibacterial agents: Chemistry, mode of action, mechanisms of resistance, and clinical applications. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons.
Coates, A. R. (2012). Antibiotic resistance. Heidelberg: Springer.
Edmunds, M. W., & Mayhew, M. S. (2013). Pharmacology for the primary care provider. St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier-Mosby.