Uses and abuses of flagyl
All the women and young girls know something about this medicine. If you have a stomach upset you have to use Flagyl. Many of these people have it handy in their handbags when they attend parties and would use the drug at the slightest sign of discomfort. just a few weeks ago one of the readers of this column shared her rather unpleasant experience after she had consumed a large amount of beans and pap. It was eaten at night and the combination had upset her so much that she was ill with abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and occasional vomiting for several days. She had resorted to the use of Flagyl without as much as even complaining to a doctor or a nurse.
After a couple of days, there was no improvement and she began to call intermittently at an unholy hour asking for advice. It was that night she knew that Flagyl was an antibiotic rather than an antidiarrhoeal agent. It was an eye-opener and it was a bit frightening. A rather commonly available medication available across the counter throughout the country was not even recognised as an antibiotic.
That realisation is the immediate reason for this topic this week and one that is hoped would eventually educate many people about the properties of this drug while understanding the wrong uses, as above, that it is often put to. Flagyl is the trade name of the antibiotic Metronidazole. The latter name is the proper name for the agent and it is manufactured by a raft of companies who have gone ahead actually to give it the names that suit their fancies. All such names can be linked to the respective producers and there is no offence intended for what is perhaps the first among these equals in the Nigerian pharmaceutical space. It is an antibiotic like we said above, and also an antiprotozoal agent which can be used alone or in combination with other medications in the treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease. This particular complex of symptoms that involves a spectrum of inflammatory conditions in the pelvis is peculiar to women. That is because of the unique nature of their reproductive organs and the fact that they have unprotected communication with the outside. This medication is also deployed in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, amebiasis, and giardiasis.
Metronidazole, therefore, finds itself being used for the treatment of various bacterial infections of the skin, joints, stomach, vagina, liver, intestines, and even the brain. It is also used to treat certain mouth infections and dental abscesses. It works by stopping the growth of certain bacteria and even parasites as well. It is available for use as a syrup, tablet, pessaries, and intravenous infusion. It has immense effectiveness against Trichomonas vaginalis for which the medication was first approved as an effective form of therapy. The anaerobic bacteria, against which it is typically also effective, are usually gram-negative types. Most of these bacteria are Bacteroides and Fusobacteria which are often found within the gastrointestinal tract and also as occasional invaders of operation sites in the hospital. In the treatment of Entamoeba histolytica, a protozoan that infects the liver and the gastrointestinal tract, Metronidazole is typically effective. It is equally effective in the treatment of mixed vaginal infections caused by Trichomonas vaginalis and other organisms and characterised by a disturbing vaginal itch with associated cheesy discharge and foul smell.
In the treatment of Giardia lamblia, a parasitic microorganism that is equipped with tentacles that resemble whips, Metronidazole is similarly effective. The organism colonises and reproduces within the small intestines and causes different patterns of diarrhoea. The organism is found in soil, food, and water. Most people who have diarrhoea caused by that micro-organism would need treatment because it causes diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and weight loss. As this medication has proven over time to have such great effectiveness against a wide variety of intestinal conditions which often manifest with diarrhoea, people now make the mistake of thinking that Flagyl is primarily a pharmaceutical agent useful in the treatment of diarrhoea. Perhaps, in an environment where the majority of diagnostic medical laboratories do not meet the minimum standards, results obtained therefrom may not be considered reliable. As a result, many people take their chances with this medicine and hope it will help them with their condition. Most times, it will help because many of the bacteria which are involved in these illnesses are susceptible to the effects of the drug.
Metronidazole is a strong antibiotic that becomes rapidly effective within an hour or two after being taken. It can be taken with food, water, or on an empty stomach. If a patient finds that the drug upsets the stomach, then it can be taken with milk or a meal. The effectiveness of this medication may not be evident right away but after several days, its potency comes into bold relief as many of the symptoms abate. These factors may contribute to the popularity of the drug and its constantly appreciated accompaniment by many people who now see it as a useful item to have at a party. As useful as the medicine is, however, it is helpful to remember that every medication has its own particular side effects and it is no different with Flagyl. It is beneficial to avoid taking alcohol with it because of the greatly enhanced propensity of that combination to cause vomiting and persistence of the feeling of being sick. It may leave a metallic taste in the mouth and can often cause such profound vomiting that the usage may have to be stopped. The alternative to such discontinuation, especially when it is clear that it is the only drug that can clear an infection or is within easy reach, is to administer it in reduced doses.
The alternative to those options in the last paragraph is to administer it with a useful anti-emetic agent. By this is meant another medication that has the ability to prevent or reduce vomiting. In combination with Flagyl, the objectives of administering an effective antibiotic for the treatment of an infection can be met. Sometimes, Flagyl can be used in combination with other antibiotics such as tetracycline or penicillin-based drugs. Sometimes, it is administered together with another group of medications known as Cephalosporins. The objective of doing so is to cover an even wider spectrum of organisms that the combination of antibiotics can more effectively eliminate. The reason for this approach is that a lot of infections are caused by more than one micro-organism and so it is often important to kill off the entire colony rather than eliminate one group today only to have to deal with another group after a few days with the use of yet another drug. The other advantages of this combination are that it makes it possible to give a reduced dose of Flagyl, thereby minimising its side effects while amplifying its efficacy by hooking its strengths to another unrelated drug. This kind of effort is called synergy.