SIDE EFFECTS OF ANTIBIOTICS
An antibiotic is a selective poison. It has been chosen so that it will kill the desired bacteria, but not the cells in your body. Each different type of antibiotic affects different bacteria in different ways. For example, an antibiotic might inhibit a bacterium's ability to turn glucose into energy, or its ability to construct its cell wall. When this happens, the bacterium dies instead of reproducing. At the same time, the antibiotic acts only on the bacterium's cell-wall-building mechanism, not on a normal cell's.
The most common side effects with antibiotic drugs are diarrhoea, feeling sick and being sick. Fungal infections of the mouth, digestive tract and vagina can also occur with antibiotics because they destroy the protective 'good' bacteria in the body (which help prevent overgrowth of any one organism), as well as the 'bad' ones, responsible for the infection being treated.
Rare, but more serious side effects, include the formation of kidney stones with the sulphonamides, abnormal blood clotting with some of the cephalosporins, increased sensitivity to the sun with the tetracyclines, blood disorders with trimethoprim, and deafness with erythromycin and the aminoglycosides.
Sometimes, particularly in older people, antibiotic treatment can cause a type of colitis (inflamed bowel) leading to severe diarrhoea. Penicillins, cephalosporins and erythromycin can all cause this problem but it is most common with clindamycin, an antibiotic usually reserved for serious infections. If you develop diarrhoea while taking an antibiotic, immediately contact your doctor.