Antibiotics and Generic Medicines


Virus Infections

Many common infections of the nose, throat, sinuses, ears, and chest are caused by viruses. Flu-like illnesses are also caused by viruses. Diarrhoea and/or vomiting are often due to a virus infection of the gut. If you are normally well, your immune system is good for fighting off many types of virus infection. An antibiotic is not needed if a virus is causing an infection. This is because:

  • Antibiotics do not kill viruses. Antibiotics only kill bacteria.
  • Antibiotics may cause side-effects such as diarrhoea, rashes, feeling sick, etc.
  • Overuse of antibiotics when they have not been necessary has led to some bacteria becoming resistant to them. This means that some antibiotics might not be as effective when they are really needed. Your doctor can give you the best advice on treatments available.

What About Bacterial Infections

The immune system can clear most bacterial infections. For example, antibiotics usually do little to speed up recovery of bronchitis, or most ear, nose, and throat infections that are caused by bacteria. However, you do need antibiotics if you have certain serious infections caused by bacteria such as meningitis or pneumonia. When you are ill, doctors are skilled at checking you over to rule out serious illness and to advise if an antibiotic is needed.

Use Generic Medicines

What Are Generic Medicines?

Generic medicines are simply another version of branded medicine. They are medicines which contain the same medicinal ingredient; for example, Paracetamol is the generic name of the brand medicine PanadolĀ®.

What’s In A Name – They’re Just The Same

Generic medicines are equally as good and safe. The Government ensures that generic medicines are made to the same standard as branded medicines, so they are safe and effective and of the same high quality. In fact, many of the companies that make branded products also make generic medicines.

Generics contain the same medicinal ingredient and are identical in strength to the branded medicine, so they treat your condition just the same. Your GP will always make the best choice of treatment for you.

Will I Notice Any Difference?

There may be some difference in colour, shape or size. This however is only in the outward appearance and does not affect the medicine or the way it works. If you would like further advice, speak to your pharmacist.