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Dangerous side effect: antibiotics can increase the risk of pneumonia


Antibodies reduce possible side effects of antibiotics in the lungs

Antibiotics can weaken the immune system of the lungs and thus increase the risk of pneumonia. This risk can apparently be reduced by the administration of antibodies. German researchers have now found that out.

Medicines with unwanted side effects

The use of antibiotics in the treatment of many diseases is clinically necessary, but it is often viewed critically. Finally, studies have shown that such drugs are often prescribed only on suspicion and are often associated with serious side effects. One of these undesirable side effects is the weakening of the body's natural bacterial flora. This can increase the risk of infections, for example in the lungs. It is known that one of the main causes of pneumonia is the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Bacterial flora disrupted by antibiotics

Scientists at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have now investigated the mechanisms that favor Pseudomonas infections after antibiotic therapy.

The research team led by Prof. Dr. Bastian Opitz from the medical clinic with focus on infectiology and pneumology at the Charité was able to prove that the disruption of the bacterial flora due to antibiotics leads to a reduced production of certain antibodies in the lungs.

These IgA-type antibodies are said to be an important immune defense option against infections, according to a statement.

Antibiotics therefore weaken the defense system of the lungs and make it easier for Pseudomonas bacteria to infect the lungs.

According to the information, this effect could also be demonstrated in an observational study with patients in an intensive care unit.

Risk can be reduced with specially made antibodies

In the animal model, the scientists had already succeeded in reducing the susceptibility to Pseudomonas lung infection with specially produced IgA antibodies.

"We want to understand even better what influence antibiotics have on the natural bacterial flora and how this affects the defense mechanisms of the body and especially the lungs", Prof. Opitz explains the further goals of the research work and adds:

"And we want to investigate how and in what form IgA antibodies can be used preventively and therapeutically."

The researchers' study was recently published in "The Journal of Clinical Investigation". (ad)

Author and source information


Video: Common Antibiotics with a Dangerous Side Effect? (August 2020).