Do anti-infectives affect psoriasis?
Anti-infective is a broad term that includes all forms of medications that combat infection by foreign invaders. Some of the subclasses of anti-infective drugs include: antibiotics, antifungals, antiparasitics, and antivirals.
Antibiotics come in many classes and formulations, but all serve a common goal of killing bacteria within the body. The earliest antibiotic discovered was penicillin, and many derivatives have been made from it. One of the most common antibiotics is amoxicillin, which is from the same family as penicillin, the beta-lactam antibiotics. Amoxicillin is only effective in fighting Gram-positive bacteria such as those from the genus Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Bacillus. Because antibiotics are only useful when there is a bacterial infection, a prescription for amoxicillin given to treat a patient with psoriasis would have no benefit. However, since strep throat is caused by a streptococcal infection, and is considered the main trigger for guttate psoriasis in adolescents, the used to amoxicillin in this instance would be of great benefit. Some people may be allergic to penicillin and its derivatives, and are not advised to take any penicillin-containing medications. It is important to take all antibiotics strictly as prescribed by your doctor, and to be sure that the entire therapy is completed, in order to prevent recurrence and possible antibiotic drug resistance.
Antivirals are, as the name implies, drugs that combat infections caused by viruses. Unlike bacteria, viruses are not considered living organisms on their own and require a host cell in order to replicate and proliferate. A commonly used antiviral drug is acyclovir (brand names: Zovirax, Sitavig). Acyclovir is used primarily to treat viral infections of herpes, chickenpox, and shingles, and works by slowing the growth and spread of the viruses in the body. Herpes viruses establish lifelong infections in the body, and cannot be cured or eradicated as of late. Acyclovir functions mainly to reduce the severity and transmission of the viral infection. There are preventative vaccines against chickenpox and shingles, which confer lifelong immunity, but may require booster shots from time to time. Acyclovir itself has no direct effect on psoriasis, but may prevent triggering of flare ups due to infection.