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Home > Health & Fitness > Healthwise > Antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infections in Children
These antibiotics kill the bacteria that
urinary tract infections (UTIs) in children.
Most antibiotics come in pill or liquid form. Some antibiotics may be
given as a shot. The doctor may give antibiotics in the vein (intravenously) if your child is younger than 2 to 3
months old, is very ill or nauseated, or has a severe kidney infection.
Antibiotics treat a UTI and prevent
complications of infection such as kidney damage.
prevent infections in children who have had or may be at risk for recurrent
UTIs. The doctor might prescribe preventive antibiotic therapy if your child:
Doctors are undecided about how long a child should take
preventive antibiotics. But some experts believe that long-term use of low-dose
antibiotics can safely prevent UTIs in children, especially in children who have vesicoureteral reflux. Whether long-term antibiotics prevent kidney damage needs more study.
Antibiotics are effective in curing
most UTIs. Your child should feel better within 48 hours after starting the medicine. If your child doesn't feel better, call your doctor. Your doctor
probably will prescribe a different antibiotic.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine your child takes. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with the medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if your child has:
Other signs of a severe allergic reaction include fever or chills, chest pain, skin rashes, hives, itching, or being very tired.
Stop using this medicine and call your doctor right away if your child has any unusual symptoms, including:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
It is important that your child drinks enough fluid when taking these medicines.
Give your child the antibiotics as
directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your
child needs to take the full course of medicine. If your child does not take
all of the antibiotics as prescribed, the infection may return. Not taking the
full course of medicine also encourages the development of bacteria that are
resistant to antibiotics.
Your doctor may have to prescribe different antibiotics, and different
combinations of antibiotics, to find the right medicine that will kill the
bacteria causing your child's UTI.
These medicines may cause liver problems or anemia. This is more likely to happen if these medicines are taken for a long period of time. Your doctor may recommend tests if your child shows signs of having either of these problems.
If your child is allergic to penicillin, your child should not be given amoxicillin.
If your child is allergic to cephalosporins, penicillins, or other drugs, your child should not be given cephalexin. If your child has a kidney or liver disease, has stomach or intestinal problems (such as colitis), or is malnourished, your child may need tests before being given this medicine. Your doctor may also need to adjust the dose of the medicine.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. If your child takes medicine as your doctor suggests, it will improve your child's health and may prevent future problems. If your child doesn't take the medicines properly, his or her health (and perhaps life) may be at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Current as of:
February 27, 2013
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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