Q:

What does penicillin do?

A:

Quick Answer

Penicillin treats different illnesses by preventing the spread of bacteria, according to MedicineNet. It treats such ailments as middle ear infections, laryngitis, bronchitis and urinary tract infections.

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What does penicillin do?
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Full Answer

MedicineNet mentions that penicillin is a mold that hampers bacterial growth. It was discovered in 1928 and was an effective medicine for soldiers during World War II. Since then, penicillin has been synthesized for intestinal absorption and to fight more infections. Wikipedia mentions extended-spectrum penicillin, which is the most effective type of penicillin for treating a broader range of diseases.

MedicineNet adds that penicillin does not kill bacteria but prevents them from dividing and forming protective cell walls. Since bacteria cannot survive without cell walls, they usually die from being unprotected. Penicillin can be taken in the form of injections, chewable tablets or capsules, and the dosage varies on the patient. Penicillin levels in the blood increase with the aid of probenecid, which slows down the kidney's ability to expel penicillin. It is also used so a lower amount of penicillin results in high blood levels.

MedicineNet claims that penicillin is considered safe to use for pregnant women, but it can get into the mother's nursing milk, which may result in allergic reactions or diarrhea in infants. However, it is used to treat infections in newborns. General side effects of penicillin include itching, vomiting, insomnia and rashes.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Who discovered penicillin?

    A:

    According to About.com, bacteriologist Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928. After returning from vacation, he noticed that mold had formed in a discarded Petri dish set aside from a contaminated experiment, and the mold had killed the bacteria contained in the Petri dish.

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  • Q:

    Does azithromycin contain penicillin?

    A:

    According to RxList, azithromycin does not contain penicillin and is considered a macrolide antibiotic. While azithromycin contains no penicillin, some people may have an allergic reaction to it. If a patient has allergies to medication, or liver, kidney or muscle disease, the doctor must be informed before treatment.

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  • Q:

    Does penicillin expire?

    A:

    Although penicillin does not necessarily go bad, it should not be taken past its expiry date as it will lose effectiveness with time, according to Mayo Clinic. When doctors prescribe penicillin, patients need to take the full course of the antibiotics to clear up the infection completely. If a dosage is missed, the patient should take it as soon as possible but should not double the dose.

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  • Q:

    Where does penicillin come from?

    A:

    Penicillin comes from molds of the genus Penicillium. The scientist Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin accidentally, but he was never able to obtain a pure sample of the organism; however, he did find that penicillin was potent against bacterial growth.

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