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Medications for Urinary Tract Infection

Other names: Acute Bacterial Cystitis; Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection; Chronic Urinary Tract Infection; Cystitis, acute bacterial; Infection, Urinary Tract; UTI

What is an Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in your urinary tract. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, or Staphylococcus saprophyticus.

Your urinary tract includes your bladder, kidneys, ureter (the tube that connects your kidneys to your bladder), and urethra (the tube that removes urine from your body). A bladder infection is a type of urinary tract infection, but not all UTIs are bladder infections.

Risk Factors for UTIs

Women of all ages are most at risk of UTIs because the female urethra is much shorter than the male urethra, which allows bacteria near the vagina to enter the bladder more easily. Older males are also at a higher risk. Other factors that increase the risk of a UTI include:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Certain contraceptives (eg, diaphragms or spermicides)
  • Wiping from back to front after a bowel movement
  • The presence of kidney or bladder stones
  • Urinating without fully emptying the bladder
  • Pregnancy
  • Having a urinary catheter.

UTIs in children are reasonably common, affecting up to 8% of girls and 2% of boys. Young children also have a higher risk of kidney damage from UTIs than adults.  Some children are born with vesicoureteral reflux, where urine reenters the bladder from one or both ureters, which also increases the likelihood of UTIs.

A bladder infection is a type of urinary tract infection, but not all UTIs are bladder infections. Bladder infections are the most common type of UTIs. A bladder infection may also be called cystitis and it is usually caused by bacteria.

What are the Symptoms of a UTI

Symptoms of a UTI can differ depending on what part of the urinary tract is infected.

A bladder infection usually causes symptoms that include the following:

  • Burning when urinating (the medical term for this is dysuria)
  • The feeling that you need to pee frequently, but when you go to the toilet very little urine comes out
  • Pain in the pelvic area just above the pubic bone.

Bladder infections are usually considered a “simple UTI” and treatment is usually with antibiotics (such as trimethoprim or amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium) for three to five days. Symptoms usually resolve in a couple of days.

People with an infection of the urethra (called urethritis) may experience symptoms similar to a bladder infection in addition to itching or irritation at the end of the urethra where the pee comes out.

Symptoms of a kidney infection are usually more widespread and more severe than those of a bladder infection and may include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • Pink or red-tinged urine (this is a sign of bleeding in the urinary tract)
  • Burning when urinating
  • The feeling that you need to pee frequently, but when you go to the toilet very little urine comes out
  • Pain in the pelvic area just above the pubic bone
  • Moderate to severe lower back pain
  • Nausea or vomiting.

Kidney infections are considered the worse type of UTI and usually start as a bladder or urethra infection but then the bacteria multiply and travel up to the kidneys. Kidney infections are usually called complicated UTIs and some people may require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics. Less severe infections may be treated with oral antibiotics over a week or more. Untreated kidney infections can be life-threatening.

Preventing UTIs

There is controversy over whether unsweetened cranberry juice is an effective treatment or prevention for UTIs. A 2013 review of 24 studies concluded that is was less effective than previously thought. The risk of UTIs may be lessened by staying hydrated and urinating when the need arises, not holding it in.

Women should wipe from front to back after a bowel movement, urinate before and after sex, and avoiding using douches, vaginal sprays, and scented feminine hygiene products. They should avoid wearing restrictive, synthetic clothing, or change out of such clothing as soon as possible after exercising or swimming.

Drugs Used to Treat Urinary Tract Infection

The following list of medications are in some way related to, or used in the treatment of this condition.

Drug name Rx / OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol Reviews Rating Activity
ciprofloxacin C N 347 reviews
5.0

Generic name: ciprofloxacin systemic

Brand names:  Cipro, Cipro I.V., Cipro XR

Drug class: quinolones

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

nitrofurantoin B N 1020 reviews
4.2

Generic name: nitrofurantoin systemic

Brand names:  Macrobid, Macrodantin, Furadantin

Drug class: urinary anti-infectives

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Cipro C N 163 reviews
5.6

Generic name: ciprofloxacin systemic

Drug class: quinolones

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Macrobid B N 451 reviews
4.4

Generic name: nitrofurantoin systemic

Drug class: urinary anti-infectives

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Bactrim D N X 188 reviews
4.4

Generic name: sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim systemic

Drug class: sulfonamides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim D N X 604 reviews
4.3

Generic name: sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim systemic

Brand names:  Bactrim, Bactrim DS, Septra DS, Septra, Co-trimoxazole, Sulfatrim Pediatric …show all

Drug class: sulfonamides

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, Prescribing Information

Amoxil B N 1 review
10

Generic name: amoxicillin systemic

Drug class: aminopenicillins

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

amoxicillin B N 38 reviews
7.0

Generic name: amoxicillin systemic

Brand names:  Amoxil, Apo-Amoxi

Drug class: aminopenicillins

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Bactrim DS D N X 164 reviews
5.1

Generic name: sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim systemic

Drug class: sulfonamides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

doxycycline D N X 29 reviews
6.8

Generic name: doxycycline systemic

Brand names:  Vibramycin, Doxy 100, Doryx, Doryx MPC, Monodox, Morgidox, Oraxyl …show all

Drug class: tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Augmentin B N 10 reviews
5.6

Generic name: amoxicillin / clavulanate systemic

Drug class: beta-lactamase inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Levaquin C N 37 reviews
5.5

Generic name: levofloxacin systemic

Drug class: quinolones

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

levofloxacin C N 60 reviews
5.1

Generic name: levofloxacin systemic

Brand name:  Levaquin

Drug class: quinolones

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Macrodantin B N 18 reviews
5.6

Generic name: nitrofurantoin systemic

Drug class: urinary anti-infectives

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

ceftriaxone B N 42 reviews
9.3

Generic name: ceftriaxone systemic

Drug class: third generation cephalosporins

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

amoxicillin / clavulanate B N 31 reviews
5.8

Generic name: amoxicillin / clavulanate systemic

Brand names:  Augmentin, Amoclan, Augmentin XR

Drug class: beta-lactamase inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

cefuroxime B N 16 reviews
6.8

Generic name: cefuroxime systemic

Brand names:  Ceftin, Zinacef

Drug class: second generation cephalosporins

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

trimethoprim C N X 55 reviews
3.5

Generic name: trimethoprim systemic

Brand name:  Primsol

Drug class: urinary anti-infectives

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Ceftin B N 2 reviews
9.5

Generic name: cefuroxime systemic

Drug class: second generation cephalosporins

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Septra DS D N X 10 reviews
7.5

Generic name: sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim systemic

Drug class: sulfonamides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

methenamine C N 15 reviews
8.1

Generic name: methenamine systemic

Brand name:  Hiprex

Drug class: urinary anti-infectives

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Septra D N X 9 reviews
5.4

Generic name: sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim systemic

Drug class: sulfonamides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Uribel C N X 26 reviews
6.5

Generic name: hyoscyamine / methenamine / methylene blue / phenyl salicylate / sodium biphosphate systemic

Drug class: urinary antispasmodics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Vibramycin D N X 2 reviews
10

Generic name: doxycycline systemic

Drug class: tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

ampicillin B N 1 review
10

Generic name: ampicillin systemic

Drug class: aminopenicillins

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Topics under Urinary Tract Infection

Alternative treatments for Urinary Tract Infection

The following products are considered to be alternative treatments or natural remedies for Urinary Tract Infection. Their efficacy may not have been scientifically tested to the same degree as the drugs listed in the table above. However there may be historical, cultural or anecdotal evidence linking their use to the treatment of Urinary Tract Infection.

Legend

Rx Prescription Only
OTC Over the Counter
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over the Counter
Off Label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
Pregnancy Category
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

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Further information

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