IN THIS ARTICLE
Antibiotics are usually not prescribed until a bacteria or parasite has been identified as the cause of the infection. Antibiotics may be given for certain bacteria, specifically Campylobacter, Shigella, and Vibrio cholerae, if properly identified through laboratory tests. Otherwise, using any antibiotic or the wrong antibiotic can worsen some infections or make them last longer.
Antibiotics are not used to treat virus infections.
Some infections, such as salmonella, are not treated with antibiotics. With supportive care comprising of fluids and rest, the body is able to fight and resolve the infection without antibiotics.
For adults, the health care practitioner may prescribe medications to stop the vomiting (antiemetics) such as promethazine (Phenergan, Anergan), prochlorperazine (Compazine), or ondansetron (Zofran). Sometimes these medications are prescribed as a suppository. Doctors usually do not recommend antiemetics for infants, but depending upon the situation, older children may be prescribed an antiemetic (antinausea) medication in a lower dosage.
Antidiarrhea medications are not usually recommended if the infection is associated with a toxin that causes the diarrhea. The most common antidiarrheal agents for people older than 3 years of age include over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as diphenoxylate atropine (Lomotil, Lofene, Lonox) or loperamide hydrochloride (Imodium).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/15/2013
Must Read Articles Related to Gastroenteritis
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu):
Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu) - Causes
What caused your Stomach Flu?
Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu) - Symptoms
How long did the symptoms of your gastroenteritis (stomach flu) last? Was there anything in particular that helped with pain/symptom relief?
Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu) - Treatment
What treatment was effective for your gastroenteritis (stomach flu)?