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Can I buy antibiotics without a prescription?

Antibiotic Image

April 17, 2015

If you are looking to buy antibiotics without a prescription, unfortunately you are going to be disappointed. The short answer to this question is no. But before we go into the reasons why this isn’t possible, you may want to find out a bit more about antibiotics.

What are antibiotics?

Antibiotics are used to prevent or treat some forms of bacterial infections. They work to kill bacteria or prevent them from reproducing and therefore spreading. However, they do not work for everything. With regards to antibiotics, you should always take doctors’ advice.

For viral infections, antibiotics will not be of use, for example, illness such as colds, flu and most coughs and sore throats.

Even mild bacterial infections will possibly get better on their own, without the need for antibiotics. If you take antibiotics when they are unnecessary, it can encourage dangerous bacteria that live within your body to become resistant. This means that antibiotics may not work when you come to need and use them.

What are antibiotics used for?

Antibiotics tend to be used to treat bacterial infections that are not likely to clear up without the use of medication (i.e. antibiotics). If you have an illness that could infect other unless it is treated, or if it could take a long period of time to clear up, antibiotics will be prescribed.

If there is a risk of more severe complications, or if you are at a high risk of infection, antibiotics can be given as a precaution, also known as antibiotic prophylaxis.

Forms of antibiotics

You should always take antibiotics as you have been instructed, either by a doctor or the information leaflet provided with the medication. Doses of antibiotics can be given in a number of ways:

1. Oral antibiotics – in the form of tablets, capsules or liquid you drink, these can be used to treat the majority of mild to moderate internal infections.

2. Topical antibiotics – these are creams, lotions, sprays or drops, these are mostly used to treat infections on the skin.

3. Antibiotic injections – either given in the form of an injection or an infusion through a drip directly into the blood or muscle, these are often reserved for more serious infections.

You must always take the completed prescribed course of antibiotics, even if you begin to feel better. Unless a healthcare professional states otherwise, you should not stop taking a course of antibiotics before completing them as the bacteria can become resistant to the antibiotic.

Side effects of antibiotics

Along with all medication there can be side effect caused by antibiotics. Most do not cause any issues if they are used correctly.

The most common side effects you may experience are:

  • sickness

  • nausea

  • bloating and indigestion

  • diarrhoea

Some people can have allergic reactions to some forms of antibiotics, a common one being penicillin. If you do suffer from an allergic reaction you should stop taking the antibiotics immediately and contact your doctor.

Antibiotics and prescriptions

Most antibiotics are prescription only and only prescribed for specific infections. This is because misuse and overuse of certain antibiotics has caused some bacteria to begin to build up a resistance to them.

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is an example of a bacteria that has developed a resistance to many of the common antibiotics, such as penicillin.

Pharmacy Direct do, however, offer an online consultation service for cystitis. Cystitis is an acute urinary tract infection which is normally treated with Trimethoprim 200mg twice a day for one week. It is unusual that this does not treat the problem immediately but if this is the case, alternative treatment should be sought from your GP.

If you are looking for assistance regarding this or another medical issue, seeking the help from an online chemist could be a much more convenient alternative for you! Contact us if you are looking for professional advice, or browse our website for a specific product. Pharmacy direct is a free delivery chemist for all orders over £40!


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