The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Only use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.

You may be prescribed antibiotics for 3 or more days. A 3-day course has been shown to be helpful for both younger and older women with urinary tract infections (UTIs), rather than taking the medication for up to 10 days or more. You should take the full course of medication, even if you begin to feel better before all the medication is gone.

In some cases, severe UTIs are treated with IV or intramuscular antibiotics. Researchers, though, have found that oral antibiotics appear to be as effective in treating UTIs as those given as injections.

If you are suspected of having a more serious infection, such as a kidney infection, you may need hospitalization, IV antibiotics, and fluids.

Beta-lactam antibiotics

  • Amoxicillin (Amoxil, Polymox, Trimox, Wymox)
  • Cefaclor (Ceclor)
  • Cefuroxime (Ceftin)
  • Cefpodoxime (Vantin)
  • Cefixime (Suprax)
  • Cefepime (Maxipime)
  • Piperacillin tazobactam (Zosyn)

Fluoroquinolone antibiotics

  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
  • Norfloxacin (Noroxin)
  • Ofloxacin (Floxacin)

Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole antibiotics

  • Bactrim
  • Cotrim
  • Septra

Nitrofurantoin antibiotics

  • Furadantin
  • Macrodantin

Medicines for symptom relief

  • Phenazopyridine, such as Basidium, Erodium, AZO Standard, Pyridium
  • Combination medicine, such as Prosed, Urised

Common names include:

  • Amoxicillin (Amoxil, Polymox, Trimox, Wymox)
  • Cefaclor (Ceclor)
  • Cefuroxime (Ceftin)
  • Cefpodoxime (Vantin)
  • Cefixime (Suprax)
  • Cefepime (Maxipime)
  • Piperacillin tazobactam (Zosyn)

Possible side effects include:

  • Diarrhea —If diarrhea is severe, call your doctor.
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Rash or allergic reaction
  • Bleeding problems—If you notice bruising, increased bleeding, or spontaneous bleeding, call your doctor.
  • May interfere with oral contraceptive pills—Use another form of contraception while you are taking these antibiotics.
  • May interfere with sugar levels in people with diabetes—Check with your doctor before you change your dose of insulin or other diabetes drugs.

Note: Some antibiotics should not be taken with alcohol. Check with your doctor.

Common names include:

  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
  • Norfloxacin (Noroxin)
  • Ofloxacin (Floxacin)

If you are taking antacids or sucralfate, do not take them within six hours of taking a fluoroquinolone. Take with a full glass of water. Take norfloxacin on an empty stomach. The other medications may be taken either on an empty stomach or with meals.

Possible side effects include:

  • May interact with antacids or sucralfate—Do not take these medicines within 2-6 hours of each other.
  • Increased sensitivity to sun
  • Lightheadedness—Do not drive or participate in potentially hazardous activities until you know how these medications will affect you.
  • Inflamed, torn tendons
  • Low blood sugar in people with diabetes
  • Irregular heartbeat if you have low potassium in your blood
  • For levofloxacin—Check with doctor before taking this drug if you are taking medications for your heartbeat.
  • For enoxacin—Check with your doctor before taking this drug along with caffeinated products.

Common brand names include:

  • Bactrim
  • Cotrim
  • Septra

Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is usually not prescribed for babies less than three months of age. Older people have an increased risk of skin and bleeding problems with these medications, especially if they are already using diuretic medications. Always take these drugs with a full glass of water.

Possible side effects include:

  • Bleeding problems, including increased bleeding, easy bruising, slow healing—If possible, delay dental procedures.
  • Increased sensitivity to sun
  • Itching
  • Skin rash
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Lightheadedness—Do not drive or participate in potentially hazardous activities until you know how these medications will affect you.

Common brand names include:

  • Furadantin
  • Macrodantin

Take nitrofurantoin with food or milk in order to decrease the chance of stomach upset. Possible side effects include:

  • May interfere with sugar levels in people with diabetes—Check with your doctor before you change your dose of insulin or other diabetes drugs.
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal gas

Common brand names include:

  • Basidium
  • Erodium
  • AZO Standard
  • Pyridium

Phenazopyridine can help relieve the burning, urgency, and frequency of a UTI. You should stop taking this medicine when you are no longer having discomfort. It is usually advised not to take this medication for longer than two days. Take with food to decrease the chance of stomach upset. Do not wear soft contact lenses while you are using this drug; it may permanently stain the lenses.

Possible side effects include:

  • Reddish-orange color to your urine and sweat
  • Headache
  • Stomach irritation

Call your doctor immediately if you are taking this drug and notice:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Decreased urine
  • Blue color to your skin

Common brand names include:

  • Prosed
  • Urised

Prosed and Urised contain a combination of drugs to treat an infection, reduce bladder spasm, and relieve pain. These medications should always be taken with a full glass of water.

Possible side effects include:

  • Lightheadedness, sleepiness, blurred vision, changes in thinking—Do not drive or do hazardous activities until you know how these medications will affect you.
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Change in color of urine or stool to blue or green

Call your doctor right away if you are taking this drug and have:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe lightheadedness
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Significant change in thinking clearly and logically
  • Unable to pass urine
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Sudden change in vision
  • Rash

Older people may have more side effects when taking Prosed or Urised.

If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines:

  • Take your medicine as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
  • Do not stop taking them without talking to your doctor.
  • Do not share them.
  • Ask what results and side effects to expect. Report them to your doctor.
  • Some drugs can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than one drug. This includes over-the-counter medicine and herb or dietary supplements.
  • Plan ahead for refills so you do not run out.