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How much does a visit to get an Antibiotics prescription cost?
How much does a visit to get an Antibiotics prescription cost?
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Antibiotics are a class of medications that kill bacteria in the body. Most are taken orally, though some are given intravenously, usually after surgery or in life-threatening situations, such as sepsis.
Medics used the first antibiotic, salvarsan, in 1910, though it was only partially effective. Later, Bayer bacteriologist Gerhard Domagk discovered sulfonamide antibiotics that were more effective against a broad spectrum of microbes in the clinic. They are still in use today.
However, it was only with Alexander Fleming’s 1928 discovery of penicillin that antibiotic usage became mainstream in clinical practice. He and colleagues at Oxford, UK, discovered that the molecule had a molecular structure that could disrupt bacterial cell function.
The golden age of antibiotic discovery came in the middle of the twentieth century, from around 1940 to 1960. Once scientists understood the principle that natural and synthetic compounds could kill bacteria, the race was on to find more.
Early on, the discovery of new antibiotic classes was easy. Researchers and clinicians introduced tetracyclines (1948), macrolides, such as erythromycin (1952), and pyridinamides, such as isoniazid (1952), to clinical practice. However, the discovery of new antibiotics slowed significantly thereafter.
Today, the concern is that antibiotics are losing their effectiveness. Bacteria are evolving to counter the mechanisms that antibiotics use to kill them, leading to the rise of multi-drug-resistant infections.
How Do Antibiotics Work?
Antibiotics work in different ways. Penicillin, for instance, inhibits the production of bacterial cell wall proteins, making them fragile and leaky. When walls burst open, it makes it easier for the immune system to invade and destroy the remaining cell material.
Sulfonamides work differently. They prevent folate synthesis in bacteria, an essential biological process, by inhibiting the enzyme, dihydropteroate synthetase.
Another class of antibiotics, nitrofurans (often used as an antibiotic of last resort) cause DNA damage, making it harder for bacteria to replicate. Similarly, antibiotics prescribed for urinary tract infections, such as ciprofloxacin, inhibit various enzymes required for DNA synthesis.
Tetracyclines, often prescribed for tooth infections and acne, inhibit protein synthesis. Antibiotic compounds enter bacteria cells and then prevent them from producing the compounds they need to build cell structures and replicate.
What are antibiotics Prescribed For?
Physicians prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infections. They do not prescribe them for viral infections because viruses use a different chemistry to spread and replicate. Because of this, they have no effect on the common cold, flu, sore throats, or coughs.
Over-prescription of antibiotics increases the risk of microbial resistance, putting future patients at risk. Therefore, physicians usually only prescribe them for serious bacterial infections that the body cannot eliminate by itself. However, some doctors still use them for cosmetic issues, such as acne.
Examples of necessary antibiotic online prescriptions include:
- Urinary tract infections
- Post-surgery wound infection prevention
- Strep throat infections
- Whooping cough
- Middle ear infections
- Some sinus infections
Antibiotics either kill bacteria that cause these conditions directly or prevent them from replicating, allowing the immune system to work more effectively.
What Are Common Side Effects of Antibiotics?
While antibiotics kill dangerous bacteria, they can have some off-target effects. Most oral antibiotics, for instance, kill healthy gut bacteria. Because of this, many patients experience nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Antibiotics can also preferentially kill some gut bacteria while allowing others to survive. Overgrowth of certain species can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and indigestion.
Antibiotics can also produce allergic reactions in some patients. Symptoms can range from mild rashes to life-threatening anaphylaxis (an inability to breathe).
Antibiotics have these effects because they contain compounds that confuse the immune system, causing it to believe that the body is under serious threat. The types of antibiotics most likely to cause allergic reactions are amoxicillin, penicillin, tetracyclines, and ampicillin.
Around one in fifteen people has an allergic reaction to antibiotics. Therefore, doctors may perform allergy tests before prescribing them.
What are the most common antibiotics prescribed?
The most commonly prescribed antibiotics combat the diseases that people get most often, such as urinary tract infections and periodontitis. According to the CDC, amoxicillin sits at the top of the list, with 171 prescriptions per 1,000 people per year, followed closely by azithromycin at 144 prescriptions per 1,000 people per year, and amoxicillin/clavulanic acid at 79 prescriptions per 1,000 people per year.
Physicians typically use these antibiotics as a first line of defense to see if they work against common infections. If they are ineffective, they will then move on to lesser-used second or third-line drugs. Amoxicillin is the most prescribed because patients tolerate it well and side effects tend to be minor. Less-used antibiotics, such as nitrofurantoin, are more effective (because there is less microbial resistance to them), but side effects can be more severe.
Frequently asked questions
Can online doctors prescribe antibiotics?
Online doctors have the same authority to prescribe antibiotics as those you see in person. Online prescriptions may include conventional oral antibiotics (pills), creams, topicals, and medicated ear and eye drops.
Do you need a prescription for antibiotics?
Some antibiotics are available over the counter, but most require a prescription in the U.S. from a registered healthcare practitioner. If over-the-counter antibiotics are available, they tend to be ineffective against the most common bacterial infections.
How can I get an antibiotics prescription?
To get antibiotics, you’ll need to visit your doctor, either in-person or online, and describe your symptoms and medical history. They will then assess your case and either prescribe antibiotics on the spot or perform further tests to see which antibiotics, if any, are right for you. If they suspect your infection is viral (or you do not have an infection at all), they will not prescribe antibiotics. Instead, they will recommend that you go home, rest, and take plenty of fluids. If the viral infection is serious or requires management, they may prescribe antiviral drugs. These eliminate viral infections or keep the viral load in the body low.
Can I get antibiotics without a doctor?
You cannot get most antibiotics, such as amoxicillin or penicillin, without seeing a doctor. However, you do not have to visit a doctor in person. If a physician believes that you require antibiotics after communicating with you over the internet, they can prescribe them directly, without conducting a physical examination or tests. You can also order over-the-counter antibiotics, but these tend to be ineffective against the most common bacterial diseases.
Can you get antibiotics over the counter?
In general, you cannot buy oral over-the-counter antibiotics in the U.S. However, there are a few exceptions. For instance, most pharmacies will dispense topical antibiotics (those you apply to your skin) without a prescription, for wounds, burns, and scrapes. These products contain a combination of polymyxin, neomycin, bacitracin, and pramoxine, plus various numbing agents. You can also buy benzoyl peroxide, a topical antibiotic for mild acne.
Can you get a prescription for antibiotics online?
You can get prescriptions for antibiotics online by speaking to a board-certified physician or a pharmacist with the right certifications. Doctors can either communicate with you directly or call after interacting with you online to learn more about your symptoms. Your antibiotic prescription should be the same, whether you see a doctor online or in person. To get an online prescription for Antibiotics you will have to set up an account with us, download the DrHouse app and make an on-demand visit with one of our board-certified clinicians.
Can I order antibiotics online without seeing a doctor?
By law, a doctor must prescribe oral antibiotics, whether online or in the doctor’s office. However, you don’t always have to have a conversation with your doctor. Some online pharmacies simply ask you to provide details of your symptoms for a physician to review. If they determine that you have an infection, they may prescribe a first round of antibiotics without a consultation. In most cases, patients can get an antibiotic prescription via telemedicine, negating the need to travel to the doctor’s office.
How do I get a prescription for antibiotics?
You can get a prescription for antibiotics by either visiting your doctor in person or by going online. Simply tell your doctor the symptoms that you have and answer any questions they ask you. During the consultation, they will determine whether you require antibiotics or not.
Pharmacists can also prescribe some types of antibiotics and can suggest treatments for minor ailments. However, they must meet certain certification requirements.
Can you buy antibiotics online?
You can buy antibiotics online, as long as you have a prescription. Doctors will only prescribe antibiotics if they believe that you have a bacterial infection. Online pharmacies have the same due diligence requirements when dispensing these drugs as in-person doctors.
How can I get antibiotics without insurance?
You can get antibiotics without insurance by paying for them out-of-pocket. Generally, paying cash for antibiotics works out as being more expensive than getting them through your insurance policy.
If you want to reduce the cost of antibiotics, you may be able to buy generic products. These drugs are unbranded and, therefore, cheaper, though they may come in forms that are more difficult to swallow. Without insurance, expect to pay between $5 and $15 for a course of antibiotics.