What Are Medications and Treatments for Urinary Tract Infections?
Antibiotics are the most commonly used treatment for urinary tract infections. The duration of treatment with antibiotics for UTIs varies according to the part of the urinary tract that is infected.
- If you have a bladder infection (cystitis), you will need to take antibiotics for 3 to 7 days.
- If you have a kidney infection, you will need to take antibiotics for up to 2 weeks. In certain cases, one may also require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.
UTI symptoms and signs usually begin to improve shortly after starting antibiotic medications, but it is important to take the full course prescribed by a health care professional so that the infection is fully eradicated and does not return.
For most antibiotics, there are more than one treatment regimen for a UTI. Make sure to discuss the right dosage and treatment frequency with your health care provider.
Antibiotics that treat UTIs include trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra), nitrofurantoin (Macrobid, Macrodantin), fosfomycin (Monurol), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), norfloxacin (Noroxin), cephalexin (Keflex), cefadroxil (Duricef), cefuroxime (Ceftin), ceftriaxone (Rocephin), loracarbef (Lorabid), cefixime (Suprax), amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (Augmentin), cefotetan (Cefotan), cefazolin (Ancef), ceftazidime (Fortaz, Tazicef), cefotaxime (Claforan), ampicillin/sulbactam (Unasyn), trimethoprim (Primsol), amoxicillin (Amoxil), cefpodoxime (Vantin), ampicillin, cefoxitin by injection (Mefoxin), gemifloxacin (Factive), and gentamicin (Garamycin).
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can cause cystitis, and the first antibiotic you start on may not be the one that is right for your infection. Urine culture results, which are available between 48-72 hours after the sample is given, help in determining the most effective antibiotic for the isolated bacterial organism.
For fever and pain, one may take pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil).
Doctors may prescribe topical hormone replacement for postmenopausal women who have frequent or chronic UTIs. Vaginal estrogen is available in cream form (Premarin, Estrace), a small tablet (Vagifem), or a flexible ring inserted into the vagina and worn for three months (Estring).