Understanding Antibiotics Claims
How and When Antibiotics Are Used
The different types of antibiotics, and the different ways they can be used, have created room for confusing claims. The following chart deciphers when and how antibiotics are used under different claims.
*What is the difference between animal antibiotics and human antibiotics?
A drug is classified as an antibiotic if it is capable of destroying or weakening other microorganisms capable of causing disease (but antibiotics have no effect on viral infections). Most antibiotics used in animal agriculture are all also used in human medicine, and that is where there is the most concern over antibiotic resistance. Some antibiotics, including a class of antibiotics known as ionophores, are approved only for use in animals. The FDA recently changed the classification of inophores from “not important in human medicine” to “not currently important in human medicine,” recognizing that antibiotics for animal use may have future uses in human medicine. Some scientists have theorized that bacteria may be able to develop resistance to the way antibiotics wrok, and not only to specific antibiotics. If so, the overuse of any antibiotic may be able to impact the effectiveness of other antibiotics.
For more information:
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