First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Fitness & Health > Health Library > Drug resistance or antibiotic resistance
Drug resistance (such as antibiotic resistance) occurs when disease-causing organisms change over time and adapt in ways that allow them to survive exposure to a medicine that in the past killed or controlled them.
Many kinds of bacteria have become resistant to common antibiotics designed to kill them. These are called antibiotic-resistant bacteria. For example, several strains of the bacteria that cause tuberculosis and sinus, ear, and lung infections can no longer be killed by many antibiotics. Other illnesses, such as malaria and gonorrhea, also have drug-resistant strains of organisms.
Frequent and/or inappropriate use of antibiotics leads to the development of drug-resistant bacteria. For example, taking antibiotics when they may not be needed, using them for a nonbacterial infection (such as a cold), or not taking all of an antibiotic as directed may promote the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
Current as of: September 23, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.