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 3-6 days. This treatment has been helpful for both younger and older women with UTIs, rather than taking the medication for up to 10 days (or more). * You should take the full course of medicine, even if you begin to feel better before all the medicine is gone.

In some cases, severe UTIs are treated with intravenous or intramuscular antibiotics. Researchers, though, found that oral antibiotics appear to be as effective in treating UTIs as other treatments. *

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

Prescription Medications

Beta-lactam Antibiotics

  • Amoxicillin (Amoxil, Polymox, Trimox, Wymox)
  • Cefaclor (Ceclor)
  • Cefuroxime (Ceftin)
  • Cefpodoxime (Vantin)
  • Cefixime (Suprax)

Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics

  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
  • Norfloxacin (Noroxin)
  • Ofloxacin (Floxacin)

Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

  • Bactrim
  • Cotrim
  • Septra

Nitrofurantoin

  • Furadantin
  • Macrodantin

Phenazopyridine

  • Basidium
  • Erodium
  • AZO Standard
  • Pyridium

Beta-lactam Antibiotics

Common names include:

Possible side effects include:

  • Diarrhea —This may be severe; in which case, you should contact your doctor.
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Rash or allergic reaction
  • Some beta-lactam antibiotics may interfere with oral contraceptive pills.—Use another form of contraception while you are taking these medications
  • Some cephalosporins should not be taken with alcohol.—Check with your doctor.
  • Bleeding problems—Check with your healthcare provider if you notice easy bruising, increased bleeding, or spontaneous bleeding.
  • Some beta-lactam antibiotics interfere with sugar levels in diabetic patients.—Check with your doctor before you change your dose of insulin or other diabetes drugs.

Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics

Common names include:

If you are taking antacids or sucralfate, don’t take them within six hours of taking a fluoroquinolone. Take with a full glass of water.

Take norfloxacin on an empty stomach. The others may be taken either on an empty stomach or with meals.

Possible side effects include:

  • May interact with antacids or sucralfate—Don’t take these medicines within two to six hours of each other.
  • Increased sensitivity to sun
  • Some people taking these medications feel dizzy or lightheaded.—Don’t drive or participate in potentially hazardous activities until you know how these medications will affect you.
  • 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.
  • Inflamed, torn tendons
  • Low blood sugar in people with diabetes
  • If you have low potassium in your blood, you may develop an irregular heartbeat.

Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

Common brand names include:

  • Bactrim
  • Cotrim
  • Septra

These medicines are usually not prescribed for babies less than three months of age. Elderly people have an increased risk of skin and bleeding problems with these medicines, especially if they are already using diuretic medicines.

Always take these drugs with a full glass of water.

Possible side effects include:

  • Bleeding problems, including increased bleeding, easy bruising, slow healing; delay dental procedures if possible
  • Increased sensitivity to sun
  • Itching
  • Skin rash
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Some people taking these medications feel dizzy or lightheaded.—Don’t drive or participate in potentially hazardous activities until you know how these medications will affect you.

Nitrofurantoin

Common brand names include:

  • Furadantin
  • Macrodantin

Take these medicines with food or milk in order to decrease the chance of stomach upset.

Possible side effects include:

  • Nitrofurantoin can interfere with sugar levels in diabetic patients.—Check with your doctor before you change your dose of insulin or other diabetes drugs
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal gas

Phenazopyridine

Common brand names include:

  • Basidium
  • Erodium
  • AZO Standard
  • Pyridium

This medication can help relieve the burning, urgency, and frequency of a UTI. You should stop taking this medicine when you are no longer having discomfort. You’re usually advised not to take this medicine for longer than two days. Take with food to decrease the chance of stomach upset. Don’t wear soft contact lenses while you’re using this drug; 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’re taking this drug and notice:

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

Special Considerations

Whenever you are taking a prescription medication, take the following precautions:

  • Take them as directed—not more, not less, not at a different time.
  • Do not stop taking them without consulting your doctor.
  • Don’t share them with anyone else.
  • Know what effects and side effects to expect, and report them to your doctor.
  • If you are taking more than one drug, even if it is over-the-counter, be sure to check with a doctor or pharmacist about drug interactions.
  • Plan ahead for refills so you don’t run out.