Side Effects of Antimicrobial Drugs

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson is going to list some of the many side effects seen with antimicrobial drugs in general. We're going to break them into more common and/or less serious side effects and into the rare and more serious ones.

Antimicrobial Drugs

Antimicrobials are substances that are against (anti-) microscopic organisms (microbes). This often refers to drugs that target pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. While they are intended to destroy the microbes or, at the minimum, prevent them from multiplying, they may have adverse effects, or negative side effects as well. This lesson is going to go over the many different types of negative side effects antimicrobial drugs may produce.

Common or Less Serious Side Effects

In this first section, we're simply going to list quite a few of the relatively common and/or less serious side effects antimicrobial drugs are known to produce. There is one big catch here you must be cognizant of!

While some of these may be 'less serious' in that they are often simply inconvenient to a patient, that doesn't mean they shouldn't be taken seriously. For example, diarrhea is a relatively well-known and common side effect of many antimicrobial drugs. In most cases, the diarrhea isn't deadly. However, there are instances when it can most definitely be deadly or be part of a much larger negative reaction to the drug that is deadly. So keep that in mind!

Besides diarrhea, other relatively common and/or less serious side effects of antimicrobial drugs in general include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Secondary infections, like yeast infections when taking antibiotics

Rare & Serious Side Effects

Now, antimicrobials are also known to produce relatively rare and serious side effects. These should always be taken seriously and always addressed by a physician immediately as they are oftentimes signs of a serious reaction to the antimicrobial that may result in a person's incapacitation or death. These rare and serious side effects include:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account