Antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infections in Children
How It Works
Most antibiotics come in pill or liquid form. Some antibiotics may be given as a shot. The doctor may give antibiotics in the vein (intravenously) if your child is younger than 2 to 3 months old, is very ill or nauseated, or has a severe kidney infection.
Why It Is Used
Antibiotics treat a UTI and prevent complications of infection such as kidney damage.
Antibiotics also prevent infections in children who have had or may be at risk for recurrent UTIs. The doctor might prescribe preventive antibiotic therapy if your child has:
Doctors are undecided about how long a child should take preventive antibiotics. But some experts believe that long-term use of low-dose antibiotics can safely prevent UTIs in children, especially in children who have vesicoureteral reflux.1 Whether long-term antibiotics prevent kidney damage needs more study.
How Well It Works
Antibiotics are effective in curing most UTIs. Your child should feel better within 48 hours after starting the medicine. If your child doesn't feel better, call your doctor. Your doctor probably will prescribe a different antibiotic.
Common side effects of antibiotics used to treat UTIs include:
Severe allergic reactions to antibiotics are unusual but do occur. They include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Give your child the antibiotics as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of medicine. If your child does not take all of the antibiotics as prescribed, the infection may return. Not taking the full course of medicine also encourages the development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. This makes antibiotics less effective and bacterial infections harder to treat. Antibiotic resistance among bacteria that cause UTIs has increased steadily in recent decades. Your doctor may have to prescribe different antibiotics, and different combinations of antibiotics, to find the right medicine that will kill the bacteria causing your child's UTI.
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