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List of Broad Spectrum Antibiotics

written by: Janelle Martel • edited by: dianahardin • updated: 2/28/2011

Broad spectrum antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections in many different parts of the body. They are effective on different types of bacteria, but are not affective on viruses, such as a cold or flu. Read on to learn about the most common broad spectrum antibiotics.

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    Tetracycline

    Tetracycline is used to treat bacterial infections in many different areas of the body, most commonly urinary tract infections, strep infections, sexually transmitted diseases, respiratory infections and skin infections. Of the broad spectrum antibiotics, this one is the only one to be so successful in treating acne. Tetracycline is also sometimes used to treat certain types of arthritis, leprosy, lyme disease and malaria.

    Common side effects of tetracylines include increased sensitivity to sunlight, stomach cramps, diarrhea and dizziness. Less common side effects include headache, nausea and vomiting, changes in vision, and changes in skin color.

    This medication can interact with acitretin, isotretinoin, strontium, tretinoin and penicilins, among others.

    Tetracyline can make birth control pills less effective or ineffective, so a back-up method should be used. As a common side effect of this medication is photosensitivity, direct sunlight should be avoided when taking this medication. Sunscreen is also very important.

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    Ciprofloxacin

    Ciprofloxacin, also known as cipro, is most commonly used to treat anthrax, the symptoms of syphilis and urinary tract infections. Like the other broad spectrum antibiotics, it can be used to treat a number of bacterial infections throughout the body.

    The most common side effect with ciprofloxacin is diarrhea. There are a number of other less common side effects that include headache, nausea and vomiting, pain, runny nose and coughing.

    Ciprofloxacin should not be taken with tizanidine. Theophylline and caffeine containing drugs will make side effects more likely if taken with this medication. Ciprofloxacin can also cause photosensitivity.

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    Levofloxacin

    Levofloxacin, also known as levaquin, is used to treat anthrax and a number of bacterial infections throughout the body.

    Side effects of levofloxacin include abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting, nervousness, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. Symptoms of an allergic reaction, including skin rash, itching, or burning, trouble breathing and swelling are serious and require immediate attention.

    Levofloxacin should not be used with dronedarone, mesoridazine or thioridazine.

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    Penicillin

    Penicillin is also used to treat a number of bacterial infections. In addition, it is also sometimes used to treat clamydia infections, gas gangrene, h. pylori and peptic ulcers, leptospirosis, lyme disease and typhoid fever. There are a number of different types and brand names of penicillin.

    Common side effects of penicillin include diarrhea, headache, sore mouth or tongue, vaginal itching and discharge, and white patches on the mouth and tongue.

    Penicillin can interact with birth control pills, cyclosporine, methotrexate, vecuronium and venlafaxine.

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    Cephalexin

    Like the other broad spectrum antibiotics, cephalexin is used to treat bacterial infections throughout the body. It is most commonly used to treat middle ear infections, tonsilitis, urinary tract infections, laryngitis, bronchitis and pneumonia.

    The most common side effect is diarrhea. A number of less common side effects are also possible.

    Cephalexin can interact with cholestyramine and metformin.

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    References

    http://www.medicinenet.com/tetracyclines-oral/article.htm

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR602161

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR602795

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600845

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600253

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR603067