Should I take these antibiotics even though they are mine?
June 3, 2008 10:00 PM   Subscribe

Should I risk taking these antibiotics for my abscess or just wait a few more days?

I have an abscess in one of my lower teeth on the right side.
Night of May 23rd I went to the ER for antibiotics and pain pills.
The prescription lasted that week.
I was to head into my Dentist but couldn't.
This week the tooth itself doesn't hurt so bad but the abscess isn't completely gone. Almost but not quite.
I'm going to the dentist this Thursday no exceptions but my mother is insisting that I use antibiotics from a cousin. I don't like the idea but I read that the infection can spread quickly and get into other areas like the brain and heart so I'm a little freaked about waiting any longer than I already have. How should I handle this? Should I risk taking them or just use salt on the abscess for now?

Medicine information:
I was prescribed Penicillin VK 500MG
Cousin has Sulfameth/Trimethoprim 800 which was subbed for Bactrim DS

thank you.
posted by grablife365 to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do not take someone else's antibiotics. There are numerous good reasons not to, which I'm sure you know, otherwise you wouldn't have asked the question. It's only another day and a half until you get treated; you ought to be fine. Swish with salt water or dilute H2O2 if you want to. But please to not take your cousin's pills.
posted by phunniemee at 10:09 PM on June 3, 2008

No, no, a thousand times no, do not take anyone else's prescribed medication.
posted by padraigin at 10:10 PM on June 3, 2008

IANAD...but you already have a doctor. Ask your dentist if you should take your cousin's leftover antibiotics while waiting for that appointment on Thursday.
posted by desuetude at 10:10 PM on June 3, 2008

I am not a doctor or dentist, not your doctor or dentist, and you are not my patient. This is not medical advice, it is only to be use for education purposes.

Never take anyone else's prescribed medications. Also, the type of antibiotic we prescribe depends on the type and location of bacterial infection. Bactrim really isn't appropriate for a dental abscess.

If you are concerned, you should be returning to a doctor or dentist ASAP.
posted by gramcracker at 10:30 PM on June 3, 2008

Assuming you have a relationship with the dentist and see if he/she will write a prescription for a 2 day supply asap.
posted by metahawk at 11:06 PM on June 3, 2008

Your dentist, if not available, should have someone on call to handle this.
posted by acoutu at 11:07 PM on June 3, 2008

Definitely call your dentist. They often want you to take antibiotics before they work on an abscess so that the infection does not inadvertently spread. And not all antiobiotics work equallty well for all purposes, so taking your cousin's antibiotics might not help you at all.
posted by rhiannon at 12:31 AM on June 4, 2008

According to Wikipedia, Bactrim is only used in cases where it has a demonstrated benefit because there are serious side effects. So no, don't take it (unless a doctor tells you it is okay). Do, however, call the emergency dentist and get a recommendation.
posted by sbutler at 12:32 AM on June 4, 2008

IANAD: Take what you were prescribed. If you develop a fever, rash, hives, or a change in your mental status get to an ER. Otherwise you'll most likely be able to tough it out for 2 days. (Assuming you don't have HIV or uncontrolled diabetes or any other immunosuppressive disease.)
posted by ruwan at 4:49 AM on June 4, 2008

Bactrim can have pretty wretched side-effects. You don't want to take it (or a generic equivalent) unless you actually have to.

Some people are lucky and don't react at all, but the one time I took it I mostly felt that someone had approximately kicked me in the head and spun me around in circles. Plus anxiety. I had to take a day off of work because it was so bad.
posted by that girl at 5:23 AM on June 4, 2008

if your cousin was prescribed the same EXACT med as you, i'd say, if she doesn't need them, take them. no worries.

but, since it's not the same drug, i wouldn't take them. not all antibiotics are the same, as said above.

seriously? people take other people's drugs all the time. sure, some people are really fucking stupid about it, but if you're smart about it, no problem!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:41 AM on June 4, 2008

Call your dentist. If you need antibiotics he or she can prescribe them. If it is a sufficient emergency they can reschedule your appointment. Taking someone else's antibiotics is not a good idea.
posted by caddis at 7:41 AM on June 4, 2008

Do not take the antibiotics. Nthing everybody above saying calling your dentist, etc.

If you mom is giving you a hard time, remind her that she has not yet finished medical school, and is hence not your doctor. When she's gotten her MD, then she can prescribe you whatever drugs she feels are appropriate.

Results may vary. My mom hates it when I pull this crap, but it does get her to shut up about stuff she really has no idea about.
posted by cgg at 7:54 AM on June 4, 2008

Not to mention, no one should ever have left over anti-bacterials. Antibiotic drugs must be taken in full or there is a good chance that it will create drug resistant bacteria, thus making it harder to treat the person your cousin will now infect. I strongly suggest you stop taking medical advice from your family and stick to doctors.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:57 AM on June 4, 2008

get a refill for the rx, or if they won't, have your dentist request it.
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:00 AM on June 4, 2008

I would expect Bactrim to be useless for a dental infection.
posted by neuron at 10:13 AM on June 4, 2008

Half a doctor here...well, medical student at least.

Your cousin's meds (TMP/SMX) lack coverage appropriate for periapical abscesses and, as neuron pointed out, would be pretty useless for a dental infection. Also, as that girl pointed mentioned, TMP/SMX is not without side effects.

For future antibiotic inquiries, the Johns Hopkins ABX guide is a great resource.
posted by corranhorn at 11:34 AM on June 4, 2008

seriously? people take other people's drugs all the time. sure, some people are really fucking stupid about it, but if you're smart about it, no problem!

With antibiotics not only the drug but the dose and duration can vary according to the type of infection being treated. In almost all cases antibiotics should be taken until gone; if someone has some "left over antibiotics" sitting around then that person did not take them properly in the first place and also does not have a full course for whoever they share them with. Repeated inadequate doses of antibiotics that don't eradicate the infection are an excellent way to induce resistance.
posted by TedW at 11:49 AM on June 4, 2008

A "course of antibiotics" should've been called "The specific quantity of pills YOU are required to take"
Sweet fucking jeebus!

...doh I wonder where all duh Super Bugs are coming from...?
Good question, if you look you'll see there are three such examples in the OP.

After a little poke around wikipedia and the usual sidetracking...
As it seems that Sulfameth/Trimethoprim is something that will be used to treat MRSAs (Scary in their own right but what we now know are nothing compared to the real super bugs that they spawned) I couldn't just understand why I didn't find anything that said DO NOT SHARE THIS MEDICATION - unless of course your Aunty wants you to give a few to your cousin.

Nobody wants a Super Bug! Tell your cousin to take ALL their damn pills!!
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 1:49 PM on June 4, 2008

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