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These medicines kill the bacteria that
urinary tract infections (UTIs).
antibiotics come in pill or liquid form. Some may be given as a shot. The
doctor may give this medicine in the vein (intravenously)
if you have a severe kidney infection.
Antibiotics treat a UTI. And they
prevent complications of infection such as kidney damage.
Antibiotics also prevent UTIs. The doctor might prescribe preventive
antibiotic therapy for:
Antibiotics are effective for most
UTIs. With these medicines, you can expect relief of symptoms in 2 to 3
When taken as preventive therapy,
antibiotics also reduce the number of recurrent UTIs. But studies show that
this kind of treatment is short-acting. When you stop taking an antibiotic, you
are likely to get another UTI.2
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 you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor right away if you have signs of an infection that is getting worse, such as:
Ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin
Call your doctor right away if you have:
Sulfamethoxazole with trimethoprim
Common side effects of antibiotics include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
Antacids containing magnesium or aluminum and iron or zinc
supplements should be taken at least 6 hours before or 2 hours after taking
ciprofloxacin or levofloxacin.
Most of these antibiotics can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, ask whether there are any potential drug interactions you should be aware of. For instance, antibiotics can also change the way the anticoagulant (blood thinner) warfarin (Coumadin) works so that you bleed too easily.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) 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.
Be sure to take all of the
medicine your doctor gives you. Do this even if you feel better. If you do not
take all of your medicine as prescribed, the infection may return. Not taking
the full course of antibiotics also encourages the development of bacteria that
resistant to antibiotics. This makes antibiotics less
effective. And it makes bacterial infections harder to treat.
Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant. If you need to use this medicine, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy.
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Schaeffer AJ, Schaeffer EM (2012). Infections of the urinary tract. In AJ Wein et al., eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology, 10th ed., vol. 1, pp. 257–326. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Sen A (2006). Recurrent cystitis in non-pregnant
women. Clinical Evidence (15): 2558–2564.
February 6, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
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