Urinary Tract Infections - Medications

What medications have been effective in treating a urinary tract infection?

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What is the treatment for a urinary tract infection?

The usual treatment for both simple and complicated urinary tract infections is antibiotics. The type of antibiotic and duration of treatment depend on the circumstances.

Lower urinary tract infection (cystitis)

  • In an otherwise healthy person, a three-day course of antibiotics is usually enough. Some providers prefer a seven-day course of antibiotics. Occasionally, a single dose of an antibiotic is used. A health-care professional will determine which of these options is best.
  • In adult males, if the prostate is also infected (prostatitis), four weeks or more of antibiotic treatment may be required.
  • Adult females with potential for or early involvement of the kidneys, urinary tract abnormalities, or diabetes are usually given a five- to seven-day course of antibiotics.
  • Children with uncomplicated cystitis are usually given a 10-day course of antibiotics.
  • To alleviate burning pain during urination, phenazopyridine (Pyridium) or a similar drug, can be used in addition to antibiotics for one to two days.

Upper urinary tract infection (pyelonephritis)

  • Young, otherwise healthy patients with symptoms of pyelonephritis can be treated as outpatients. They may receive IV fluids and antibiotics or an injection of antibiotics in the emergency department, followed by 10-14 days of oral antibiotics. They should follow up with their health-care professional in one to two days to monitor improvement.
  • If someone is very ill, dehydrated, or unable to keep anything in his or her stomach because of vomiting, an IV will be inserted into the arm. He or she will be admitted to the hospital and given fluids and antibiotics through the IV until he/she is well enough to switch to an oral antibiotic.
  • A complicated infection may require treatment for several weeks.

A person may be hospitalized if he or she has symptoms of pyelonephritis and any of the following:

  • Appear very ill
  • Are pregnant
  • Have not gotten better with outpatient antibiotic treatment
  • Have underlying diseases that compromise the immune system (diabetes is one example) or are taking immunosuppressive medication
  • Are unable to keep anything in the stomach because of nausea or vomiting
  • Had previous kidney disease, especially pyelonephritis, within the last 30 days
  • Have a device such as a urinary catheter in place
  • Have kidney stones

Urethritis in men and women can be caused by the same bacteria as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Therefore, people with symptoms of STDs (vaginal or penile discharge for example) should be treated with appropriate antibiotics.

Return to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Mary, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 22

I have had UTI (urinary tract infection) since May. I have been put on oral antibiotics but nothing works. Then I was put on IV antibiotics and I still have the infection the day after 5 days of IV treatment. Blood and urine were tested and I still had infection.

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