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 (by mouth or intravenously) 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 if you’re feeling better, be sure to complete the course of medicine recommended by your healthcare provider.
Antibiotics may cause allergic reactions in susceptible people. You should discontinue your medicine and immediately contact your doctor if you experience: Skin rashHivesItchingPuffy facePuffiness around the eyesDifficulty breathing
Many antibiotics interact with other medicines. To avoid any dangerous or uncomfortable drug interactions, tell your doctor about all other medicines you are using.
Common names include: Amoxicillin
Possible side effects include: Diarrhea—This may be severe; in which case, you should contact your doctor.
NauseaVomitingBleeding problems—Check with your healthcare provider if you 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 medicines.Some cephalosporins should not be taken with alcohol. Check with your doctor.
Some beta-lactam antibiotics interfere with sugar levels in
patients. Check with your doctor before you change your dose of insulin or other diabetes drugs.
Common names include: Ciprofloxacin
If you are taking antacids or sucralfate, do not take them within two hours of taking a fluoroquinolone. Take these drugs with a full glass of water. They may be taken either on an empty stomach or with meals.
Possible side effects include: Increased sensitivity to sunSome people taking these medicines feel lightheaded. Do not drive or participate in potentially hazardous activities until you know how these medicines will affect you.Inflamed, torn tendonsFor levofloxacin—Check with doctor before taking this drug if you are taking medicine for your heartbeat.
Common names include: ErythromycinAzithromycin
Possible side effects include: Stomach crampsNauseaVomitingDiarrhea
Common names include: TetracyclineDoxycyclineMinocycline
Always take these medicines with a full glass of water.
Possible side effects include: Stomach cramps, burningDiarrheaNauseaVomitingTetracycline can cause discolored teeth in children.When pregnant women take tetracycline, their children may have discolored teeth.Increased sun sensitivitySome people taking minocycline feel lightheaded. Do not drive or participate in potentially hazardous activities until you know how this medicine will affect you.Decreased effectiveness of oral contraceptive—Use another form of contraception while your are taking tetracyclines.
Common names include: Co-trimoxazoleBactrimSeptra
These medicines are usually not prescribed for infants less than two months old. Elderly people have an increased risk of skin and bleeding problems with these medicines, especially if they are using diuretics. Always take the medicines with a full glass of water.
Possible side effects include: Increased sensitivity to sunItchingSkin rashNauseaVomitingDiarrheaStomach upset
Common names include: GentamicinKanamycinTobramycinAmikacin
Aminoglycosides are usually given through an intravenous needle into your vein.
Because aminoglycosides can affect the kidneys, hearing, balance, and muscles, be sure to tell your healthcare provider 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 patients 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.
These medicines are given through an intravenous needle into your vein.
These drugs can be hard on the kidneys and on hearing and balance. Tell your healthcare provider if you already have conditions that affect those body systems.
Common names include:
Possible side effects include: Drop in white blood cells and increased risk of infection
Drop in platelets and increased risk of:
BleedingEasy bruisingSlow healingHigh blood pressure, especially when taken with aged cheeses, smoked foods, beer, wine, or soy sauce
Common names include: Amphotericin B
Antifungal medicines 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 medicine recommended by your doctor.
Antifungal medicines may cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. You should discontinue your medicine and immediately contact your doctor provider if you experience: Skin rashHivesItchingPuffy facePuffiness around eyesDifficulty breathing
Many antifungal medicines interact with other medicines. Make sure your doctor knows about all other medicines 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 sun sensitivityFeverChillsSkin rashItchingDiarrheaNauseaVomiting