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Explain each with example:
(i) Antibiotic (ii) Analgesic

Last updated date: 20th Jun 2024
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Hint: Both these classes of compounds, antibiotics and analgesics, are important therapeutic drugs that are used by almost everyone throughout their lives. Antibiotics cure diseases while analgesics offer pain relief.

Complete step by step answer:
First let us describe the characteristics of antibiotics.

(i) The word ‘Antibiotic’ is a combination of two words, namely “anti” (meaning against) and “biotic” (meaning life). They prevent microorganisms, especially bacteria, from completing their life cycles. Thus, antibiotics are drugs which are used to prevent the growth of disease-causing microorganisms.
The interesting fact about antibiotics is that they itself are produced from other microorganisms. Hence, antibiotics are very selective in action, one antibiotic may only work for one or very few diseases. These special compounds, when released into the body, attack the harmful microbes and either kills them or inhibit their growth.
A common example is penicillin, which is derived from the bacteria “penicillium” and is used to treat bacterial infections like pneumonia, Scarlet fever etc.

(ii) Analgesics are drugs used to obtain relief from pain. That is, they are used as painkillers. There are different types of analgesics, like opioids, cannabinoids etc. They all have different reactions but all perform more or less the same function. They make modifications to either the central or peripheral nervous system to reduce the brain’s feeling towards the sensation of pain, or how the body senses pain.
The most common analgesic in use is aspirin, otherwise known as acetyl salicylic acid, and is used as a painkiller for relieving headaches, toothaches, period pain etc.

Note: The main constituent of antibiotics are weak forms of bacteria, which can kill other bacteria selectively, while analgesics are chemical compounds, which can be man-made or natural. Note that both antibiotics and analgesics are powerful drugs and shouldn’t be used without the prescription of a medical professional. Long term use of these and misuse of drugs can lead to a wide variety of diseases, including kidney failure, liver damage, changes in behaviour etc.