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Best Antibiotics for the Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 2/28/2011

Are you looking for a list of the best antibiotics for UTI? These drugs are most often prescribed for urinary tract infections because they produce successful results.

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    A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection that originates in the urinary system. The urinary system is made up of the kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureters. Any of these can become infected, however, the urethra and bladder are most often affected. So, what are the best antibiotics for UTI?

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    Aminoglycosides

    This type of antibiotic is administered intravenously for bacterial infections that are very serious. They can only be administered as a combination with other antibiotics. The most commonly prescribed is gentamicin. Serious side effects may occur, such as damage to the patient's sense of balance, hearing and kidneys.

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    Tetracyclines

    This type of antibiotic includes tetracycline, doxycycline, and minocycline. Doxycycline or tetracycline may be used as a best antibiotic for UTI caused by Chlamydia or Mycoplasma. This type of antibiotic tends to have unique side effects when compared to other types of antibiotics. Such side effects may include burning in the throat, skin reactions to sunlight, and tooth discoloration. Pregnant women and children should not take this type of antibiotic.

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    Fluoroquinolones

    Also referred to as quinolones, this type of antibiotic is now being often used as TMP-SMX. As an alternative to TMP-SMX, these are the standard. Commonly prescribed examples include ofloxacin, norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and levofloxacin. Pregnant women should avoid this type of drug. Children tend to experience more side effects, therefore, these are not used right away in children. If no other method of treating a UTI is effective for a child, this type of antibiotic may be considered.

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    Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole

    More simply referred to as TMP-SMX, this type of antibiotic is used prescribed as a three-day course. This drug can be taken in a one-day dose to lower the risk of side effects, but it tends to be less effective. Seven to ten day courses pose the potential for a high risk of side effects, but do not appear to be more effective than a three-day course. Commonly prescribed TMP-SMX antibiotics include Cotrim, Bactrim, and Septra.

    Those allergic to sulfa drugs and those who have had dental work-related infections should not use this type of drug. If an allergic reaction occurs, it can be quite serious. Trimethoprim, such as Trimpex or Proloprim, is sometimes used as a single drug for patients who are allergic to sulfa drugs. This type of antibiotic may interfere with how effective oral contraceptives are. In many parts of the United States, there are high rates of bacterial resistance to this type of antibiotic.

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    Resources

    Mayo Clinic. (2010). Urinary Tract Infection. Retrieved on February 28, 2011 from Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/urinary-tract-infection/DS00286

    University of Maryland Medical Center. (2009). Urinary Tract Infection – Medications. Retrieved on February 28, 2011 from the University of Maryland Medical Center: http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/how_antibiotics_used_treating_urinary_tract_infections_000036_8.htm