Antibiotics for Kidney Infection

Antibiotics for Kidney Infection


Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) can be cured using antibiotics as the first line of treatment. Antibiotics are bactericidal medications that can kill or prevent the growth of microbes such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), which can cause infections in kidneys.

Before taking an antibiotic, however, it is important to first understand the severity of the infection as well as the type of bacteria that cause the infection. Antibiotic misuse can put the patient’s health at risk, make the existing infection worse, and trigger allergies. The general health status of patients should be considered as well. For one, antibiotics such as Bactrim can be detrimental to pregnant women and their baby.

List of antibiotics for kidney infection

Antibiotics can be grouped into different classes such as Penicillins, Fluoroquinolones, and Sulfonamides. Under each class are different types of antibiotics with unique chemical composition and medicinal advantage. Any use of a medicine, however, must be with an advice of a doctor.


Amoxicillin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that belongs to Amino Penicillin class, a group of antibiotics that can kill or inhibit the proliferation of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Amoxicillin can treat mild to moderate acute uncomplicated kidney infection.
It is safe for children, pregnant women, as well as breastfeeding women. But amoxicillin should be taken with caution because it can trigger allergies and can be harmful to people with liver problems and people who have recently had vaccinations.
Amoxicillin can also result in diarrhea and stained teeth if taken in liquid form.

Ampicillin (Penbritin)

Ampicillin is also a type of broad-spectrum Penicillin. It fights susceptible aerobic and anaerobic bacteria that can cause infection. It is usually taken along with Aminoglycosides such as Gentamicin to treat infections caused by, for example, Enterococcus spp.

Ampicillin is more likely to cause allergies and other side effects to patients with an existing illness such as leukemia. But Ampicillin is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
But they should first seek their doctor’s advice before using ampicillin to avoid the risks.

Ciprofloxacin (Ciproxin)

Patients who are allergic to penicillin may replace it with other antibiotics like Ciprofloxacin. Ciprofloxacin belongs to Fluoroquinolones class of antibiotics, which can be taken orally or intravenously. Patients normally receive injectable Ciprofloxacin (usually 400 mg) as an initial remedy, which can then be extended for a week with oral Ciprofloxacin (step-down: 500 mg twice a day; extended-release: 1000 mg once a day).

Experts say that Ciprofloxacin is safe for women with an acute kidney infection they elderly women. Women patients, however, should inform their doctors first if they are lactating, pregnant, or try to be pregnant before taking Ciprofloxacin because its benefits may outweigh the risks. Ciprofloxacin intake can lead to disabling adverse effects like tendinitis and other side effects such as nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

Levofloxacin (Levaquin)

Levofloxacin is also a Fluoroquinolone antibiotic that can be administered orally or intravenously to outpatients with infections. Like Ciprofloxacin, Levofloxacin should be taken with caution especially if to be administered to lactating, pregnant, or trying to be pregnant women because of its adverse effects.

But in treating acute pyelonephritis, Levofloxacin and Ciprofloxacin differ in terms of regimen and eradication rate. Generally, patients initially receive 750 mg of injectable Levofloxacin before a five-day intake of 500 mg oral Levofloxacin. Although it is usually taken at a shorter period, Levofloxacin has a higher eradication rate compared with Ciprofloxacin.

Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Bactrim DS, Septra, Septra DS)

Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole antibiotics like Bactrim are Sulfonamides that help minimize susceptible bacteria in the urinary tract that cause infection. Bactrim is not recommended for pregnant women because it can potentially harm the unborn baby. Generally, non-pregnant women take trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole antibiotics along with birth control to avoid conception while undergoing the treatment.

Other types of antibiotics

Doctors may also prescribe any of the following antibiotics for kidney infection:

  • Carbapenems such as Doripenem (Doribax), Ertapenem (Invanz), Meropenem (Merrem), Imipenem-cilastatin (Primaxin), and Meropenem/vaborbactam (Vabomere)
  • Aminoglycosides including Gentamicin, Tobramycin, and Amikacin
  • Glycopeptides such as Vancomycin (Vancocin)
  • Others including Cefazolin, Ceftriaxone, Cefalexin

Antibiotics safe for pregnant women

  • Cefalexin
  • Ampicillin
  • Nitrofurantoin

Precautions and other considerations

Patients should consult with their doctor first before taking an antibiotic because misuse can worsen the existing infection or give rise to more serious complications. They should also comprehensively provide doctors with their health information to ensure correct prescription of antibiotics. Women, for one, should tell their doctors if they are pregnant or lactating. By so doing, doctors can prescribe only the antibiotics that are safe to them (and the baby).

Doctors, on the other hand, should study the severity of the kidney infection as well as the type of bacteria causing the infection before prescribing an antibiotic regimen. They should also take note of the patient’s allergies and the antibiotic’s adverse effects. If needed and based on lab results, the existing regimen should be altered.