Learn About Antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infection and How They Work

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TMP-SMX consists of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole and comes in oral tablet, oral suspension and intravenous (IV) forms. The most common side effects of this drug are nausea, rash, itching and vomiting. In some cases, this drug causes hepatitis, sensitivity to light, high potassium levels and bone marrow suppression. Rare side effects of TMP-SMX include pancreatitis, tremor, kidney stones, Stevens-Johnson syndrome and Sweet’s syndrome.


Ciprofloxacin, sold under the brand names Cipro and Proquin, comes in tablet, extended-release tablet and liquid suspension forms. Depending on the type of tablet used, you may have to take Cipro with a main meal to prevent some of the most common side effects of antibiotics for urinary tract infection. Over the counter antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide may affect the absorption of ciprofloxacin. Common side effects of this drug include diarrhea, vomiting, heartburn, nausea, headache and vaginal discharge. Some side effects are serious and should be reported to a physician. They include hives, blisters, itching, rash, difficulty breathing, wheezing, fainting, irregular heartbeat and fever.


Cephalexin, sold under the brand names Keflex, Zartan and Panixine, is a cephalosporin that breaks down the cell walls of bacteria. This kills the bacteria and clears up urinary tract infections. One of the more common antibiotics for urinary tract infections, this drug comes in tablet, oral suspension and dispersible tablet forms. The dispersible tablet dissolves in water, making it easier to take for those who have difficulty swallowing pills. The side effects of this drug include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, joint pain and vaginal discharge. If you experience serious side effects or side effects that do not go away, contact your doctor. The serious side effects that can occur with this drug include decreased urination, bloody diarrhea, yellowed skin, easy bleeding, weakness, confusion, hallucinations, personality changes and seizures.


Augmentin is the brand name for a drug that combines amoxicillin with clavulanate potassium. This drug is a penicillin drug, meaning it fights the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. Augmentin comes in tablet, liquid and chewable forms. The side effects of this drug include upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, yeast infection, headache, rash and itching. If you experience bloody diarrhea, fever, blistering or peeling rash, jaundice, or easy bruising or bleeding, seek medical advice.


Levofloxacin, also known as Levaquin, as a floroquinolone antibiotic. This drug treats serious urinary tract infections. If your doctor prescribes the oral form of this drug, take it with a full glass of water. Levofloxacin also comes in intravenous form, often used to treat infections in hospital inpatients. Because this drug can affect the outcome of certain laboratory tests, tell your doctor if you are taking levofloxacin any time you have blood drawn. Side effects of this drug include anxiety, nausea, constipation, vomiting, muscle pain, skin itching, sleep problems and dizziness.


Gentamicin belongs to a group of antibiotics known as aminoglycosides. These drugs kill the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections and other types of infectious conditions. This drug is used to treat very serious infections that have reached the kidneys. In some cases, your doctor may instruct you to use gentamicin injections at home. If this is the case, learn how to properly administer the injections to avoid adverse effects. The most common side effects associated with this drug are increased thirst, rash, nausea and vomiting, and loss of appetite.


Nitrofurantoin, marketed under the names Macrobid, Macrodantin and Furadantine, kills the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. Available in capsules and an oral liquid, nitrofurantoin is usually taken twice a day for at least seven days. This drug can cause loss of appetite, darkening of the urine, nausea and vomiting. More serious side effects include excessive fatigue, fever, respiratory problems, muscle weakness, chronic cough and skin rash.


PubMed Health: Ciprofloxacin

Drugs.com: Cephalexin

Drugs.com: Augmentin

Drugs.com: Levaquin (Levofloxacin)

Drugs.com: Gentamicin

PubMed Health: Nitrofurantoin