Difference Between Steroids and Antibiotics

Although both steroids and antibiotics are drugs used for treating different diseases in living bodies, but there are some differences between the drugs depending on their structure, properties and the physiological approach of each of them to the body. Antibiotics have a more direct approach towards curing diseases. As soon as a dose of an antibiotic is administered, it starts actively killing bacteria inside the body, ensuring a fast recovery. Steroids however, work their magic by preventing the body from responding to foreign stimuli. This in turn gives more time to the body to heal on its own, using its immune system.


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    Steroids, also known as life saving drugs, are prescribed for treating highly potent inflammatory and allergic conditions. These fat-soluble drugs literally imitate the adrenal gland’s action. There are various types of steroids such as dietary fat cholesterol, the sex hormones testosterone and dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug. Depending on the types of steroids, the steroid family can be divided into three classes; sex steroids, corticosteroids and anabolic steroids.

    Sex steroids are mainly used for regulating reproductive disorders such as correction of hormonal imbalances. The second class, corticosteroids, are prescribed for regulating metabolism, increasing volume of blood in the body and improving immune system. Finally, anabolic steroids are used for boosting physical strength and aiding in muscle and bone synthesis.

    Just like other drugs, steroids have their side-effects as well. Eye cataract, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, weight gain, thinning of bones, skin problems like bruising, acne, and worst of failure of immune system are some of the side-effects.

    Image courtesy:  gettyimages.co.uk

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    Antibiotics can be categorised as a family of drugs which doctors prescribe in case of an infection to put a halt to bacterial growth inside the human body. The term ‘antibiotic’ was initially used by Selman Waksman, a famous microbiologist, in 1942. Penicillin is one of the most common examples of an antibiotic. Penicillin in turn is used for treating bacterial infections.

    Antibiotics can only be used to cure diseases in which a bacterial infection is involved. Any non bacterial infections such as common colds cannot be treated using antibiotics.

    Common side-effects of antibiotics are diarrhea, elevated risk of tendon damage and alteration of host microbiota.

    Image courtesy:  gettyimages.co.uk

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