Antibiotics work by killing bacteria or preventing them from growing and reproducing. The choice of antibiotic depends on the type of bacteria that is believed to be causing the infection. The way the antibiotic is administered (oral or IV) depends on how ill you are and whether you have any other medical conditions that put you at risk for severe infection or complications.
You must take every dose of an antibiotic, even when you're feeling better.
Antibiotics may cause allergic reactions in susceptible people. You should discontinue your medication and immediately contact your doctor if you experience: Skin rashHivesItchingPuffy facePuffiness around the eyesDifficulty breathing
Many antibiotics interact with other medications. To avoid any dangerous or uncomfortable drug interactions, tell your doctor about all other medications you are using.
Common names include: AmoxicillinAmoxicillin-clavulanatePiperacillin-tazobactamCephalexinCefadroxilCefaclorCefuroximeCefpodoximeLoracarbefCefditorenCefiximeCeftibutenCefepimeMeropenemImipenem/cilastatin
Possible side effects include: Diarrhea—Contact your doctor if it is severe.
Nausea or vomiting.Bleeding problems—You may notice easy bruising, increased bleeding, or spontaneous bleeding.Some beta-lactam antibiotics interfere with oral contraceptives. Use another form of contraception while you are taking these medications.Some cephalosporins should not be taken with alcohol. Check with your doctor.
Some beta-lactam antibiotics interfere with sugar levels in people with
diabetes. Check with your doctor before you change your dose of insulin or other diabetes drugs.
Common names include: CiprofloxacinLevofloxacinGemifloxacinGatifloxacinMoxifloxacin
If you are taking antacids or sucralfate, do not take them within 2 hours of taking a fluoroquinolone. Take these medications with a full glass of water. They may be taken either on an empty stomach or with meals. Check with doctor before taking some of the quinolones if you are taking any medication for your heartbeat.
Possible side effects include: Increased sensitivity to the sunLightheadednessInflamed, torn tendons
Common names include: ErythromycinAzithromycinClarithromycin
Possible side effects include: Stomach crampsNauseaVomitingDiarrhea
Common names include: TetracyclineDoxycyclineMinocycline
Always take these medications with a full glass of water.
Possible side effects include: Stomach cramps, burningDiarrheaNauseaVomitingTetracycline can cause discolored teeth in childrenWhen pregnant women take tetracycline, their children may have discolored teethIncreased sensitivity to the sunLightheadednessDecreased effectiveness of oral contraceptive—Use another form of contraception while your are taking tetracyclines.
Common names include: Co-trimoxazoleBactrimSeptra
These medications are usually not prescribed for infants less than 2 months old. Elderly people have an increased risk of skin and bleeding problems with these medications, especially if they are using diuretics. Always take the medications with a full glass of water.
Possible side effects include: Increased sensitivity to the sunItchingSkin rashNauseaVomitingDiarrheaStomach upset
Common names include: GentamicinKanamycinTobramycinAmikacin
Aminoglycosides are usually given through an IV.
Because aminoglycosides can affect the kidneys, hearing, balance, and muscles, be sure to tell your doctor if you already have conditions that affect those body systems. Depending on your condition, a different antibiotic may be chosen.
Possible side effects include: Kidney problemsHearing problemsBalance problems
Muscle weakness, especially in those who already have conditions like
myasthenia gravisNauseaVomitingNumbness, tingling, burning sensations in face and/or mouthSeizuresMuscle twitches
Common names include:
Possible side effects include: Stomach crampsNauseaVomitingDiarrheaRashItching
Common names include Vancomycin
Glycopeptides are usually given through an IV.
These drugs can be hard on the kidneys and on hearing and balance. Tell your doctor if you already have conditions that affect those body systems.
Common names include:
Possible side effects include: Drop in white blood cells, which can increase your risk of infection
Drop in platelets, which can increase your risk of:
BleedingEasy bruisingSlow healingHigh blood pressure, especially when taken with aged cheeses, smoked foods, beer, wine, or soy sauce
Common names include: Amphotericin BFluconazoleItraconazoleVoriconazoleFlucytosine
Antifungal medications are available to fight fungal pneumonias. You must take every dose of an antifungal. Even if you’re feeling better, be sure to complete the course of medication recommended by your doctor.
Antifungal medications may cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. You should discontinue your medication and immediately contact your doctor if you experience: Skin rashHivesItchingPuffy facePuffiness around eyesDifficulty breathing
Many antifungal medications interact with other medications. Make sure your doctor knows about all other medications you are using to avoid any dangerous or uncomfortable drug interactions. Be sure that your doctor knows about any other medical conditions you may have.
Possible side effects include: Increased sensitivity to the sunFeverChillsSkin rashItchingDiarrheaNauseaVomiting