Seven Antibiotics to Stockpile and Why, by Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

Friday, Feb 18, 2011

Assuming your personal physician will help you stockpile antibiotics for TEOTWAWKI, which should you request?  Is there a logical reason to have amoxicillin on hand rather than doxycycline? 

Here’s what I would suggest and why.
No antibiotic is effective against every type of microbe.  Certain ones will kill aerobic bacteria, others are used for anaerobic bacteria, still others are effective against resistant strains, and certain people are allergic to or intolerant of various antibiotics.  The following are all generics, running about $10 for about a month’s treatment.

Of course, only the most understanding fellow-prepper physician is likely to prescribe all these in quantity.  The list can be narrowed a bit, by dropping doxycycline (since erythromycin covers most microbes that doxycycline would kill, and can be used in young children) and amoxicillin (because cephalexin covers most amoxicillin-sensitive bacteria and has the benefit of effectiveness against staph aureus). 

My top five antibiotics would therefore be:

Of these, SMZ-TMP and ciprofloxacin have the most duplicate coverage, as do cephalexin and erythromycin. Since the intolerance of erythromycin is much higher than is allergy to cephalexin, I would favor cephalexin.  Ciprofloxacin is stronger for intra-abdominal infections than SMZ-TMP, and is less likely to develop resistance.  Although its use in children is a bit of a concern due to the question of joint pain (although this is rare), I would favor ciprofloxacin over than SMZ-TMP, even though SMZ-TMP is effective against MRSA.  However, when the use of antibiotics is severely curtailed, antibiotic resistance will also decrease, and therefore MRSA will become less of a concern.

Therefore, my top three antibiotics to stockpile would be:

Using these three alone or in combination would cover around 90% of the infections physicians commonly encounter, as well as several less-likely threats (including anthrax and C. diff).

About The Author: Cynthia J. Koelker, MD, SurvivalBlog's Medical Editor is the author of the book 101 Ways to Save Money on Health Care, which explains how to treat over 30 common medical conditions economically, and includes dozens of sections on treating yourself.  She also hosts the popular medical prepping blog at

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