The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Only use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.

You may be prescribed antibiotics for 3 or more days. A 3-day course has been shown to be helpful for both younger and older women with urinary tract infections (UTIs), rather than taking the medication for up to 10 days or more. You should take the full course of medication, even if you begin to feel better before all the medication is gone.

In some cases, severe UTIs are treated with IV or intramuscular antibiotics. Researchers, though, have found that oral antibiotics appear to be as effective in treating UTIs as those given as injections.

If you are suspected of having a more serious infection, such as a kidney infection, you may need hospitalization, IV antibiotics, and fluids.

Prescription Medications

Beta-lactam antibiotics

    
  • Amoxicillin
  • Cefaclor
  • Cefuroxime
  • Cefpodoxime
  • Cefixime
  • Cefepime
  • Piperacillin tazobactam
  • Fluoroquinolone antibiotics

        
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Norfloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole antibiotics

        
  • Bactrim
  • Cotrim
  • Septra
  • Nitrofurantoin antibiotics

        
  • Furadantin
  • Macrodantin
  • Medications for symptom relief

        
  • Phenazopyridine
  • Combination medications
  • Beta-lactam Antibiotics

    Common names include:

        
  • Amoxicillin
  • Cefaclor
  • Cefuroxime
  • Cefpodoxime
  • Cefixime
  • Cefepime
  • Piperacillin tazobactam
  • Possible side effects include:

        
  • Diarrhea—If diarrhea is severe, call your doctor.
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Rash or allergic reaction
  • Bleeding problems—If you notice bruising, increased bleeding, or spontaneous bleeding, call your doctor.
  • May interfere with oral contraceptive pills—Use another form of contraception while you are taking these antibiotics.
  • May interfere with sugar levels in people with diabetes—Check with your doctor before you change your dose of insulin or other diabetes drugs.
  • Note: Some antibiotics should not be taken with alcohol. Check with your doctor.

    Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics

    Common names include:

        
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Norfloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • If you are taking antacids or sucralfate, do not take them within 6 hours of taking a fluoroquinolone. Take with a full glass of water. Take norfloxacin on an empty stomach. The other medications may be taken either on an empty stomach or with meals.

    Possible side effects include:

        
  • May interact with antacids or sucralfate—Do not take these medications within 2-6 hours of each other.
  • Increased sensitivity to sun
  • Lightheadedness—Do not drive or participate in potentially hazardous activities until you know how these medications will affect you.
  • Inflamed, torn tendons
  • Low blood sugar in people with diabetes
  • Irregular heartbeat if you have low potassium in your blood
  • For levofloxacin—Check with doctor before taking this drug if you are taking medications for your heartbeat.
  • For enoxacin—Check with your doctor before taking this drug along with caffeinated products.
  • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole Antibiotic

    Common brand names include:

        
  • Bactrim
  • Cotrim
  • Septra
  • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is usually not prescribed for babies less than 3 months of age. Older people have an increased risk of skin and bleeding problems with these medications, especially if they are already using diuretic medications. Always take these drugs with a full glass of water.

    Possible side effects include:

        
  • Bleeding problems, including increased bleeding, easy bruising, slow healing—If possible, delay dental procedures.
  • Increased sensitivity to sun
  • Itching
  • Skin rash
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Lightheadedness—Do not drive or participate in potentially hazardous activities until you know how these medications will affect you.
  • Nitrofurantoin Antibiotics

    Common brand names include:

        
  • Furadantin
  • Macrodantin
  • Take nitrofurantoin with food or milk in order to decrease the chance of stomach upset. Possible side effects include:

        
  • May interfere with sugar levels in people with diabetes—Check with your doctor before you change your dose of insulin or other diabetes drugs.
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal gas
  • Medications for Symptom Relief

    Phenazopyridine

    Common brand names include:

        
  • Basidium
  • Erodium
  • AZO Standard
  • Pyridium
  • Phenazopyridine can help relieve the burning, urgency, and frequency of a UTI. You should stop taking it when you are no longer having discomfort. It is usually advised not to take this medication for longer than 2 days. Take with food to decrease the chance of stomach upset. Do not wear soft contact lenses while you are using this drug as it may permanently stain the lenses.

    Possible side effects include:

        
  • Reddish-orange color to your urine and sweat
  • Headache
  • Stomach irritation
  • Call your doctor immediately if you are taking this drug and notice:

        
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Decreased urine
  • Blue color to your skin
  • Combination Medications

    Common brand names include:

        
  • Prosed
  • Urised
  • Prosed and Urised contain a combination of drugs to treat an infection, reduce bladder spasm, and relieve pain. These medications should always be taken with a full glass of water.

    Possible side effects include:

        
  • Lightheadedness, sleepiness, blurred vision, changes in thinking—Do not drive or do hazardous activities until you know how these medications will affect you.
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Change in color of urine or stool to blue or green
  • Call your doctor right away if you are taking this drug and have:

        
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe lightheadedness
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Significant change in thinking clearly and logically
  • Unable to pass urine
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Sudden change in vision
  • Rash
  • Older people may have more side effects when taking Prosed or Urised.

    Special Considerations

    If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines:

        
  • Take the medication as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
  • Ask what side effects could occur. Report them to your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medication.
  • Plan ahead for refills if you need them.
  • Do not share your prescription medication with anyone.
  • Drugs can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to your doctor if you are taking more than one drug, including over-the-counter products and supplements.