What Are Some Common Antibiotics and Their Uses?

Amoxicillin, erythromicin, cephalexin and tetracycline are some commonly prescribed antibiotics, as shown on eMedicineHealth. Antibiotics are only prescribed to treat bacterial infections, as they do not kill viruses or fungi.

Amoxicillin is a penicillin-based antibiotic that is used to treat a wide variety of infections. Infections that are possibly treatable with amoxicillin include pneumonia, bronchitis, gonorrhea and ear infections, according to Drugs.com. Amoxicillin is available under many different pharmaceutical names, and may come in the form of chewable tablets, non-chewable tablets, capsules or liquid.

Erythromicin is classed as a macrolide antibiotic. This antibiotic slows the growth of bacteria by reducing the availability of proteins necessary for the bacterial colony's survival. Erythromicin is used to treat a range of infections. This drug interacts negatively with a number of medications, including cisapride, pimozide and ergotamine, according to Drugs.com. If a patient is already taking one of these medications, a doctor is likely to prescribe an alternate antibiotic for the infection.

Cephalexin kills bacteria by preventing the bacteria from forming a protective wall around the cells, notes MedicineNet. This drug is effective against types of bacteria, including staphylococcus, streptococcus and E. coli. It may be used to treat infections of the throat, ears, urinary tract, skin and bones.