Anti-infective Drugs and Adjunctive Therapy

Anti-infective therapy refers to drugs that are capable of either killing infections or preventing their further spreading. Among anti-infectives, there are several types of drugs, and antibiotics go first on the list. Besides those, antibacterials, antivirals, and antifungals belong to this group as well. In some cases, anti-infectives are irreplaceable. However, if a patient can avoid their usage, it is better to take this chance. The first part of this paper focuses on the different implications of anti-infectives in present-day medicine; the second part discusses how adjunctive therapy can help in this situation.

The use of such kinds of medications has many drawbacks. However, the most serious ones are the side effects and the high levels of infections resistance.

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The side effects of anti-infectives vary widely. There are mild ones as stomach upset or nausea, as well as more severe, such as rashes, breath shortages, and others (ANTI-INFECTIVES, 2015, para. 6). However, it is not the question of what those adverse effects are (because almost every medication has its possible side effects); it is the question of how often they appear. According to the study conducted by Gholami, Parsa, Shalviri, Sharifzadeh, and Assasi (2005), 38 out of 460 patients were taking anti-infective drugs (at least one) complained about adverse reactions, 20 of which (42%) were severe. The same study showed that the majority of all adverse effects were induced by antifungal and antituberculosis agents (Gholami et al., 2005).

Another serious problem is that many infections have already developed various levels of resistance to anti-infective medicines. As an example, the resistance rate of malaria to chloroquine can be up to 82%, pneumonia’s and gonorrhea’s resistance rates to penicillin are 0%–70% and 5%–98% respectively, etc. (Heymann, 2006, p. 671). This problem costs not only enormous amounts of money but people’s lives as well. As Heymann states, “more than 14 million humans continue to die each year from infectious diseases, mostly in developing countries” (Heymann, 2006, p. 671). And all of this is because of high resistance levels to cures that dangerous and widespread infections have developed.

Most commonly, infections are treated with the help of different therapies. It means that there are two principal solutions: use several anti-infectives or use the minimum number of those together with adjunctive treatment (which can be defined as an addition to the primary one). Since the first option is fraught with unpredictable drug interactions, which will heighten the risk of adverse effects, the second one is preferable.

Adjunctive treatment can minimize the negative impacts of the use of anti-infectives. First of all, some of them boost immunity and, consequently, help to avoid adverse effects. Secondly, a particular type of adjuvant is aimed to lower the resistance levels of various infections. Anti-infective adjuvants can be defined as the “compounds that make bacteria more susceptible” to the treatment (Farha & Brown, 2013, p. 120). What is even more important, the resistance rates are only half of the problem. To develop resistance, infections mutate and even blend, which, in its turn, can cause the emergence of entirely new diseases. Anti-infective adjuvants can reduce the risk of mutation, which makes them even more valuable (Bernal, Molina-Santiago, Daddaoua, & Llamas, 2013, p. 446). However, this field of study is still growing.

To conclude, the use of anti-infective drugs can be dangerous because of frequent adverse effects and high resistance rates that different infections have developed. Adjunctive treatment can noticeably improve the situation. However, if there is an opportunity to avoid anti-infectives, it is better to do this.

References

ANTI-INFECTIVES. (2015). Web.

Bernal, P., Molina-Santiago, C., Daddaoua, A., & Llamas, M. A. (2013). Antibiotic adjuvants: identification and clinical use. Microbial Biotechnology, 6(5), 445–449.

Farha, M. A., & Brown, E. D. (2013). Discovery of antibiotic adjuvants. Nature Biotechnology, 31(2), 120-122.

Gholami, K., Parsa, S., Shalviri, G., Sharifzadeh, M., & Assasi, N. (2005). Anti-infectives-induced adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 14(7), 501-506.

Heymann, D. L. (2006). Resistance to Anti-Infective Drugs and the Threat to Public Health. Cell, 124(4), 671-675.

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