Antibacterial vs. Antibiotic

The major difference between antibiotics and antibacterial drugs is that antibiotics are the agents which have the capability to kill all the microorganisms, i.e., bacteria, virus or fungus while antibacterial drugs are the agents who work specifically against bacteria and not other types of microorganisms.

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Antibacterial vs. Antibiotic

Antibiotics include the drugs which act against all types of microorganisms, i.e., bacteria, virus, and fungi. The word “bio” refers to life. Thus antibiotics mean “against life.” While as the name indicates, antibacterial drugs are the agents which act specifically against bacteria. Some of the antibiotics and antibacterial drugs are made synthetically while some are obtained from natural sources.Both antibiotics or antibacterial agents may have a broad spectrum or narrow spectrum of action.

Antibacterial agents are in fact a subtype of antibiotics. Other types of antibiotics are, antifungal agents ( for example Nystatin, anthramycin, fluconazole, ketoconazole, amphotericin B) and antiviral agents (for example Acyclovir, gancyclovir, interferon gamma, etc.) Antibacterial drugs are further subdivided according to their mechanism of action, e.g., some agents act on the cell wall of bacteria, some interfere with protein synthesis, and some interfere with DNA replication. They are also divided into two types, i.e., bactericidal and bacteriostatic drugs. Bactericidal drugs kill the bacteria while bacteriostatic drugs do not kill bacteria directly; rather they inhibit their reproduction.Both antibiotics and antibacterial drugs have some nonmedical uses like they are used as growth enhancing stimulants in livestock feeds and poultry.

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Antibacterial compounds may be physical agents, e.g., heat, radiation, chemical agents like halogens or alcohol or metabolic compounds of microbes, i.e., antibioticsAntibiotics act against both prokaryotes and eukaryotes while antibacterial act against only prokaryotes.Antibiotics are used in the form of medicines which are taken orally in the form of capsules and tablets or IV injections.  While antibacterial agents are also used in the form of cleaning products, disinfectants, and soaps.Side effects of antibiotics are more severe as they target both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells while there are fewer side effects of antibacterial drugs because they only target prokaryotic cells.

Contents: Difference between Antibacterial and Antibiotic

Comparison chart

Basis Antibiotics Antibacterial
Definition Antibiotics are the agents which act against all types of microorganisms, i.e., bacteria, virus, fungi.Antibacterial drugs are the agents which specifically act against bacteria and not other microorganisms
Subtypes  They are of three types, i.e., antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal drugs.They are further divided according to their mechanism of action. Bactericidal are the agents which kill bacteria while bacteriostatic are the agents which inhibit the reproduction of bacteria.
ActonThey act on both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.They act only on prokaryotic cells.
Side effects Their side effects are severe because they target both types of cells, i.e., prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.Their side effects are mild because they target only prokaryotic cells.
They may be Antibiotics may be physical agents, i.e., heat, radiations, chemical compounds, i.e., alcohol, halogens or derivatives of microbes.Antibacterial agents may also be physical agents, chemical agents or derivatives of microbes.
Used as They are used in the form of oral tablets, capsules or IV injections.They are used in the form of oral medicines, i.e., tablets, capsules, IV injections, soap, detergents and cleaning products.
Nonmedical uses They are also used for some nonmedical purposes like growth enhancing stimulants in livestock and poultry feeding.They are also used for some nonmedical purposes like growth enhancing stimulants in livestock and poultry feeding.
Spectrum of action Some agents among them are broad spectrum while some are a narrow spectrum.They may also be a broad spectrum or narrow spectrum agents.
Examples Examples can be given as acyclovir, gancyclovir (antiviral) , anthramycin , fluconazole, ketoconazole (antifungal) and penicillin (antibacterial)Examples can be given as penicillin, cephalosporin, ceftriaxone, fluoroquinolone
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What are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are the agents that act against microorganisms, i.e., bacteria, virus, fungus, etc. On this base, antibiotics are divided into three groups, i.e., antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents. Antibiotics may be physical agents, e.g., extremes of heat and radiation not tolerated by microbiota, chemical agents, i.e., alcohol and halogens( chlorine, bromine, and iodine) or agents derived from microbes. Some antibiotics are broad spectrum, and some are a narrow spectrum. Some agents are broad spectrum which kills a wide range of microbiota while narrow range antibiotics act against a few organisms. They are used in the form of oral medicines, i.e., tablets, capsule or IV injections. In the case of skin infection, local application in the form of topical drugs can also be carried out. Antibiotics act against both types of cells, i.e., prokaryotes and eukaryotes, and that is why they have more side effects on the human body. Although the side effects of each drug are different, some common side effects are GIT upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Some drugs can cause cough, some cause blurring of vision and some cause lightheadedness. They are also used for some nonmedical purposes like growth enhancing stimulants in livestock and poultry feeding.

What are Antibacterial?

Antibacterial agents are the drugs which act specifically against bacteria. They are divided into two types, i.e., bactericidal and bacteriostatic agents. Bactericidal agents are the drugs which kill the bacteria while bacteriostatic are the agents which stop the reproduction of bacteria. Some drugs act on the cell wall of bacteria, some interfere with protein synthesis, and some inhibit genetic material replication. Physical agents such as heat and radiation and chemical agents for example halogens also act as antibacterial agents. These agents are used in the form of oral medicinal medications, IV injections, topical creams, cleaning agents, detergents, and soaps. Some agents have a broad spectrum of action while some have a narrow spectrum of action. They act only on prokaryotic cells, so they have fewer side effects on the body. It can be said that antibacterial agents are a type of antibiotics.

Key differences

  1. Antibiotics are the agents that act against all types of microorganisms while antibacterial agents act only against bacteria.
  2. Antibiotics act on both types of cells, e., prokaryotic cells and eukaryotic cells while antibacterial agents act against only prokaryotic cells
  3. Side effects of antibiotics are more severe than those of antibiotics.
  4. Types of antibiotics are antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial agents while types of antibacterial drugs are bactericidal and bacteriostatic drugs.
  5. Both are taken as oral medicines, IV injections, topical creams while antibacterial agents are also used as surfactants, soaps and cleaning agents.
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Conclusion

Both antibiotics and antibacterial drugs are commonly used for medical purposes. They are often considered the same thing rather than different entities. It is compulsive to differentiate both types of agents. In the above article, we learned the clear differences between antibiotics and antibacterial agents.

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