The difference between painkillers and antibiotics
In order to obtain either painkillers or antibiotics at the pharmacy, you must have a prescription from a doctor. Antibiotics, a word which comes from the term antibacterial, are prescribed to heal an infection somewhere in the body. Painkillers, as the name suggest, are prescribed to ease pain. Each of these operates in a different way in the body and the manner in which they should be used is also different.
Antibiotics target bacteria cells in the body to prevent them from reproducing. They keep them from building protective walls around the cells and without these walls they die. There are also various classifications of antibiotics. Penicillin was the first antibiotic to be discovered. This has played and continues to play a significant role in the treatment of infectious diseases.
Some of the different classifications of antibiotics are: aminoglycosides, cephalosporins, glycopeptised, lipopeptides, and macrolides. Each one of these targets different kinds of bacteria. Some of them stop the bacteria from building walls around themselves, others prevent the synthesis of protein and still others inhibit the replication and transcription of DNA. They are chosen as treatments according to the disease because some antibiotics will not work on certain types of bacteria. They also have to be monitored because overuse can lead to the body developing an immunity to the drug and then it becomes useless.
There are five categories of painkillers: NSAIDS, COX-2 inhibitors, Opiates and Morphinomimetics, Flupirtine and specific agents. NSAIDS also includes Paracetamol, but the manner in which this painkiller works is not fully understood. It does inhibit cyclooxygenase and this causes a decrease in the production of prostaglandin, which in turn relieves pain. COX-2 inhibitors also act on cyclooxygenase, but they have more of an analgesic effect. They are far better painkillers than NSAID because NSAIDS have more harmful side effects.
Opiates and Morphineominmetics are the strongest of all painkillers. Opiates, though, are highly addictive and affect the whole body. Morphineomimetics are generic drugs that mimic the effects of morphine and are not as powerful as morphine. They act on the central nervous system and are very effective in relieving moderate to severe pain. Patients do not become addicted to these painkillers.
The specific agents in the painkiller group include such drugs as Nefopam. They do relieve pain, but how they do so is not fully known.
Antibiotics vs. Painkillers
Doctors prescribe antibiotics to fight infections in the body. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications help to fight the inflammation and ease the pain associated with the infection. Patients who have had surgery are given painkillers to help with the pain. They each belong to a different classification of drugs because the act differently and have to be taken differently. Although a person may take antibiotics along with painkillers, the reason for taking each one is different.
Antibiotics heal infection by killing the bacteria and prevent them from growing. Painkillers help a patient feel better by easing the pain. They both have different classes and can be taken simultaneously.