Seven Antibiotics to Stockpile and Why
Cynthia J. Koelker, MD
personal physician will help you stockpile antibiotics for TEOTWAWKI,
which should you request? Is there a logical reason to have amoxicillin
on hand rather than doxycycline?
what I would suggest and why.
is effective against every type of microbe. Certain ones will kill
aerobic bacteria, others are used for anaerobic bacteria, still
others are effective against resistant strains, and certain people
are allergic to or intolerant of various antibiotics. The following
are all generics, running about $10 for about a months treatment.
is the old standby for most respiratory infections (probably most
of which are viral and dont even require antibiotics). It
is excellent for strep throat and some strains of pneumococcal bacteria.
It is also safe for children and pregnant women. It is well-tolerated,
causing little stomach distress or diarrhea. The drawbacks are that
some people are truly allergic, and many bacteria have developed
resistance to amoxicillin (especially staph) through overuse among
both humans and animals. Anyone truly allergic to amoxicillin should
substitute erythromycin or another antibiotic.
works on most of the same bacteria as amoxicillin, plus is stronger
against Staph aureus, which mostly causes skin infections.
It rarely works against MRSA
(resistant staph), however. It is also well-tolerated in children
and is safe in pregnant women, causing few side-effects. Like any
antibiotic, it carries the risk of allergy. People who develop anaphylaxis
(a life-threatening allergy) with amoxicillin probably should not
take cephalexin, as there is a good 10% cross-reactivity between
the two. If I had to choose between stockpiling amoxicillin or cephalexin,
I would choose cephalexin. The combination drug, amoxicillin-clavulanate
(Augmentin), is as strong against staph, but more expensive and
harder on the stomach.
is useful for anthrax (which Ive never seen), urinary tract
and prostate infections (which are very common), and many forms
of pneumonia and bronchitis. One of the more important and selective
uses of ciprofloxacin is in combination with metronidazole for diverticulitis.
This potentially life-threatening infection usually (or at least
often) requires two antibiotics to resolve. (Levaquin and Avelox
are a bit stronger than ciprofloxacin and could be substituted for
this, but are much more expensive.) Ciprofloxacin is not
used in women or children unless the benefit clearly outweighs the
risk, although the risk of joint damage (seen in animals) appears
minimal. Taking ciprofloxacin by mouth is nearly as effective as
taking by IV.
is useful in penicillin/amoxicillin-allergic adults for respiratory
infections and some urinary/prostate infections. It is avoided in
children and pregnant women unless the benefit clearly outweighs
the risk (of permanent tooth discoloration in children under the
age of 8). Doxycycline is sometimes effective against penicillin-resistant
bacteria. If I were limited to either doxycycline or erythromycin,
I would choose erythromycin for stockpile.
is useful for most of the same infections amoxicillin is used for,
and thus can be substituted in penicillin-allergic patients. However,
erythromycin tends to cause the intestine to contract, often causing
cramps or diarrhea. (This property is sometimes used to help patients
with conditions that impair intestinal motility.) It can be safely
used in children and pregnant women.
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© 2011 Survival