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水を飲む女性
水を飲む女性

風邪に効く抗生物質の効能についての議論

水を飲む女性

風邪に対して抗生物質が効果的かという点に関しては、現在では懐疑的な意見が主流です。
抗生物質は細菌に対して除去効果があるものの、風邪の原因となるウィルスに対しては効果があるとは言えないためです。本稿では、風邪に対する抗生物質の効能に関する議論についてのポイントをまとめています。

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風邪の際に処方される抗生物質

風邪をひいた女性

風邪をひいてしまい、病院へ行くと医師から抗生物質を処方されることがあります。抗生物質と聞くと、どことなく病気を治してくれるような響きも感じられます。風邪の際に抗生物質を処方する医師も多いのが現状です。

この抗生物質については、実は風邪に対しては効果がないのではないかという意見があります。抗生物質は風邪に効果があるのでしょうか。

そもそも抗生物質とは

抗生物質が風邪に効くかどうか考える前提として、そもそも抗生物質とは一体なんなのでしょうか。

抗生物質とは、端的には細菌を殺す効能を持つ薬のことを指します。例えば、水ぼうそうを殺菌するために活用されるのが抗生物質です。そのほか、細菌が原因となる水虫薬も
抗生物質が利用されています。このように細菌を殺傷する効能がある薬が抗生物質ということになります。

風邪には抗生物質は効くのか

では、このような抗生物質は風邪には効果があるのでしょうか。
この点に関しては、実は「NO」という意見が現在では優勢です。つまり、風邪に抗生物質は効かないという意見が現在では強いのです。

風邪の原因の90パーセントはウィルスの感染によるものです。しかし、風邪の原因となるウィルスと細菌は全く別物であるため、風邪の際に抗生物質を処方しても効果がないという理解が現在では有力となっています。

実際、風邪の際に抗生物質を処方しないという医師も最近では増えてきています。このようにして、風邪に抗生物質が効くかという点に関しては否定的な考えが有力となってきています。

風邪に抗生物質が効くのはプラシーボ効果?

では、どうして風邪の際に抗生物質が処方されて、それを飲むことで風邪が良くなることがあるのでしょうか。

この点に関しては、一種のプラシーボ効果(偽薬効果)ではないかとして理解されています。プラシーボ効果とは、本来、全く効き目がない薬であるのに、効果があるものとして服用を続けると本当に病気に対して効果が現れてくるというものです。

抗生物質は風に効果がないにもかかわらず、効果があると信じて疑わない(通常、医師の処方する薬を疑って飲まれる方はおられないでしょう)ことで、プラシーボ効果で風邪がよくなると考えます。実際には、風邪はプラシーボ効果に加えて、体の自然治癒力によって治っていっているという理解も可能です。

二次感染に対する抗生物質の効果

このように風邪そのものに対しては抗生物質の効果はあまりないという理解が現在では有力になっています。しかし、それでも抗生物質が風邪の際に処方されるのは、抗生物質により二次感染を防止するという効果は期待できるというのが主たる理由とされています。

風邪をひくと免疫力が低下することから、さらに細菌などが体に入り込み、肺炎などの重い病気につながる可能性があります。いわゆる「風邪は万病のもと」ということです。

そこで、風邪が引き金となって二次感染を引き起こすことを予防するために抗生物質が利用されます。いわば予防のために抗生物質を処方するということです。この意味では、合理的な使用方法ということができるでしょう。

薬剤の効能と風邪の治癒

このように抗生物質の風に対する効能については種々の議論があり、まだ明確な答え・決着はついていないのが現状です。ただ、薬剤の効能については種々の議論があっても、風邪の治癒のためには、最終的には薬を飲み、しっかりと睡眠・栄養をとるということが効果的であることには違いはないと言えます。

風邪に対する万能薬が開発されていない以上、自然治癒力による回復以上の効能が期待できる薬はないということができるでしょう。抗生物質が風邪に効くのか(二次感染予防に効果があるのか)という議論は医学的には大事な問題です。ただ、私たちが風邪をひいてしまった場合に日々の生活で重要となるのは、しっかりと休んで栄養をとるという点に集約されると言えます。

風邪の効用 (ちくま文庫)
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まとめ:抗生物質は直接には風邪には効果がない

以上、本文で述べました抗生物質と風邪に関する議論のポイントをまとめますと以下のようになります。

  • 風邪に対して抗生物質は直接には効果がないというのが現在の理解です。その根拠は、抗生物質は細菌を除去する効果があるものの風邪の原因であるウィルスに対しては、効果がないということが挙げられます。
  • 風邪の際に抗生物質が処方されて効果があるように感じられるのは、いわゆるプラシーボ効果ではないかと推測されます。また、二次感染を予防するために抗生物質が処方されることもあります。
  • 現在ではまだ風邪に対する万能薬は開発されていませんので、最終的には自然治癒による風邪の回復を待つことがもっとも効果的ということになります。つまり、栄養を撮りしっかりと睡眠をとることが何よりの風邪への治療方法です

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