Today I once more took an unplanned excursion to my doctor’s. We seem to be stuck in this cycle where I barely have stopped taking my antibiotics and about two to three days after weening off the next infection hits and I get another prescription for those little pills.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way before the screaming starts – my doc doesn’t think it’s good, I don’t think it’s good, many others don’t think it’s good and clearly everyone is aware of the long-term prospects like becoming resistant and thus the medication ineffective or the various side effects of the medication itself. In fact just at the moment these issues are being actively discussed more and more and there’s info sites like this one (in German) and flyers to raise public awareness and more strict regulations are even being discussed in governmental circles.
On the other hand, however, it seems to be the only thing that keeps me from contracting a serious Pneumonia or Sepsis. The thing is that most of my infections are indifferent, but there is always some bacterial involvement, even if only peripheral. Since my body has become so weak from my Sarcoidosis and my immune system being toned down with Corticoids, it needs this kind of help. Since I’m throwing in antibiotics “by the bucket” in a manner of speaking, let me share a brief overview of the pros and cons. No claims on completeness and you can look up the details on Wikipedia, but perhaps it may help you.
- Penicillin – Yes, they still do prescribe the first one there ever was. The problem here is that it’s not particularly effective for pulmonary infections, but I had to take it a couple of times as a precaution after being discharged from the hospital. The downside is that it really messes with your digestive tract and you almost inevitably get diarrhea.
- Amoxicillin – This is similar to the previous, but is a bit more bearable in terms of getting the winds. It also usually feels like it more evenly dissolves and distributes in your body, so the effects are less drastic.
- Tazobactam/ Piperacillin – I got this combo intravenously in high doses in the hospital last year and damn, it’s potent stuff. I visited the bathroom a lot during that time!
- Cefuroxim – This is a very mild antibiotic that unlike the ones already mentioned has almost no impact on your digestive tract. On the other hand it puts a noticeable strain on your kidneys. I always get a slight burning in my renal and urethral tract from it. You also need to drink a lot to flush out the residuals. Unfortunately in my case it is also only effective for a specific, somewhat limited set of bacteria, so we can’t use it that often.
- Doxycyclin – Another soft type that we also often got when we were younger. I haven’t had it in quite a while, so I can’t remember too many specifics, though, beyond the generic diarrhetic effect.
- Clarithromycin – Similar to Cefuroxim, this puts a lot of strain on the kidneys – mine, anyway. It is also very aggressive and may cause fever-ish attacks on the first two days or so and raises your blood pressure. If your infection takes longer than the typical five days of an antibiotics treatment, you might want to ask your doc to switch to something else.
- Ciprofloxacin – At the moment that’s our “standard therapy” (if there can be such a thing with antibiotics), but incidentally I find it one of the more annoying products. For one, since it responds to Calcium, it interferes with my Osteopenia/ Osteoporosis treatment like drinking milk and taking my Calcium tablets. This means I have to wait at least 2 hours before/ after my morning cereals for instance. Second it makes you tired to no end. Yepp, while I’m already feeling permanently exhausted, this knocks me down even more. And third, it makes your skin sensitive to light – a lot. In summer I always notice that when I’m even out in the sun only for a few minutes. It always feels like I’ve been grilling for much longer, getting a sunburn.