Antibiotic Choices: Considerations for Antibiotic Types

Have you recently been prescribed an antibiotic for any reason? If you are like most people, you probably have never thought about the possible complications that can be caused by what is often considered a routine medication. Unfortunately, there are many issues you should consider before filling your antibiotic prescription at the local pharmacy. When determining if an antibiotic is safe for you to take, these antibiotic faqs will help you start the important conversation with your doctor. This conversation should include discussion about potential side effects, reactions, as well as the dosage instructions for the medication they are prescribing.

Allergic Reactions

If you have ever had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic, it is important to know which medications caused it. Each antibiotic belongs to a family and if you have had a reaction to one drug in that family, you are at an increased risk of having a reaction to another. For example, let’s say you had a reaction to penicillin, you have an increased risk of having a reaction to amoxicillin. Amoxicillin is one of the most common antibiotics for common infections such as strep throat. If you are unsure of your risk of allergic reaction, be sure to discuss the possibility with your doctor or pharmacist.

Allergic reactions to antibiotics can be mild or severe. Mild reactions may include an itchy rash, coughing and wheezing and even tightening of your throat. If you think you are experiencing a mild allergic reaction to the prescribed antibiotic, speak with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss whether or not to change the medication. Most mild or moderate allergic reactions are often treated by taking an antihistamine while taking the antibiotic.

Rarely, a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis may occur. Signs of an anaphylactic allergic reaction include a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing due to swelling of the throat or neck, anxiety, drop in blood pressure, and losing consciousness. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention as anaphylactic allergic reactions can be life-threatening.

Interactions with Other Medications

Many antibiotics can affect the way your everyday prescriptions work. One of the most common interactions in female patients is with hormonal birth control. If you take a daily or weekly hormonal birth control and are prescribed an antibiotic, your doctor or pharmacist may recommend you use an alternative non-hormonal birth control for the duration of the antibiotic treatment.

Other medication interactions include penicillin with methotrexate. Methotrexate is often used to treat psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain types of cancer. While penicillin won’t necessarily make these medications less effective, the combination can cause some serious side effects.

Cephalosporins should be used with extreme caution if you are also taking a blood thinner or anticoagulant medication. If you absolutely need to be treated using cephalosporins, it is important to discuss changes in your blood thinner dosage and your physician may want to monitor your blood more frequently during the course of treatment.

Potential Side Effects

Antibiotic Choices: Considerations for Antibiotic TypesWhile antibiotics are designed to help your body fight off bacterial infections, they can come with some not so pleasant side effects. One of the most common side effects is nausea and diarrhea. These side effects are often caused by antibiotics because they tend to kill off good bacteria in the digestive tract as well as the bad bacteria in your body. These two side effects often dissipate after completing the antibiotic treatment.

Other side effects can include indigestion, abdominal pain and loss of appetite. You should discuss with your doctor or pharmacist if taking the medication with food or after a meal may help relieve these side effects.

If your doctor has prescribed a Tetracycline drug, you should discuss the potential for light sensitivity. Tetracyclines can cause your skin to become overly sensitive to sunlight or artificial sunlight.

How Can a Compounding Pharmacy Help?

If after you have discussed the risks and benefits with your physician or pharmacist, they still feel that this is the best method of treatment for your condition, you should contact a compounding pharmacy to see how they may be able to help decrease the risks associated with certain antibiotics. A compounding pharmacy is able to create specific combinations of medication that decrease the risks and increase antibiotic safety.

Compounding pharmacies specialize in giving patients more choices when it comes to their prescriptions. By compounding antibiotics that don’t contain certain chemicals that may cause allergic reactions or other side effects, you are able to take the medication you need without the unnecessary risks.

Many physicians are now recommending compounding pharmacies when the traditional antibiotic choices aren’t enough for their patients. These pharmacies allow patients to take multiple antibiotics without taking multiple pills. Combination antibiotics can be used on more resistant strains of bacteria at a higher success rate.

While antibiotics are the most widely prescribed medications used to treat a range of bacterial infects, they do not come without risk. To insure your health and safety while taking prescribed antibiotics, make sure you discuss any potential side effects or reactions you may experience.


If your doctor has prescribed you an antibiotic to treat a bacterial infection, contact Compounding Pharmacy of America today to see how we can help you. With more choices in how your medications are made and taken and convenient shipping to 12 states, we are your number one choice in compounding pharmacy.

About Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

Chief Operating Officer, The Compounding Pharmacy of America Matthew Poteet, Pharm.D. graduated with Honors from Lee University with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Science. After his undergraduate training, he completed the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 2004. Dr. Poteet has spent much of his pharmacy career on staff at two of the most prestigious academic teaching hospitals in the Southeast; Emory University in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. At these institutions he received extensive experience and training in sterile products compounding. He returned home to East Tennessee in 2010, where he has held the position of Pharmacy Director at two sterile products pharmacies in Knoxville. Matthew lives in Knoxville with his wife, Chris. Dr. Poteet is Tennessee’s first Board Certified Anti-Aging Pharmacist by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Read More About Matthew Poteet, PharmD