The Search for Relief: Finding the Best Antibiotic for UTI in Females

Amisha Jain
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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best antibiotic for uti in females

Antibiotics are the first line of treatment when it comes to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) 

They effectively combat the bacteria causing the UTIs, bringing relief and restoring comfort. 

However, it is sometimes a challenge for women to find the best antibiotic for UTI in females.

This guide addresses the concern and explores the various options for antibiotics available to treat UTIs in women.

It also gives an insight into the safest antibiotics for pregnant as well as older women and their potential side effects.

Choosing the right antibiotic

Selecting the most suitable antibiotic for treating UTIs is crucial for a quick recovery. 

It depends on factors including:

  • The severity of the infection
  • Type of bacteria
  • Medical history
  • Allergies
  • Age
  • Resistance patterns to certain antibiotics

There are a variety of antibiotics available in the market which can be used to treat UTIs.

Some of the top choices prescribed by medical professionals include:

Trimethoprim/Sulfamethoxazole

This combination antibiotic, commonly known as Bactrim or Septra, is widely used to treat UTIs. 

It is also known as co-trimoxazole or TMP-SMX.

It works by interfering with the bacteria’s ability to produce essential proteins, ultimately curbing its growth.

TMP-SMX is generally a three-day treatment with an effectiveness of over 85%.

However, resistance to this medication is increasing nowadays.

Nitrofurantoin

Nitrofurantoin works by damaging bacterial DNA, rendering them unable to reproduce. 

It is marketed under the names Macrobid or Macrodantin.

It is particularly effective against lower urinary tract infections.

Nitrofurantoin is generally prescribed to be taken for five days straight.

This medication has very low chances for antibiotic resistance and has an 83 to 93% cure rate.

Fosfomycin

Fosfomycin is sold as an oral solution packed in sachets under the brand name Monural Granules.

It offers convenience and effectiveness, making it a popular choice.

It is a one-day antibiotic treatment for UTIs with a cure rate of around 83 to 90 percent. 

However, a clinical study conducted in 2018 found that Nitrofurantoin is more effective than this treatment. 

Fluoroquinolones

Medications containing the following active ingredients are considered Fluoroquinolones.

  • Gatifloxacin 
  • Levofloxacin 
  • Lomefloxacin 
  • Ciprofloxacin 
  • Norfloxacin 
  • Finafloxacin 

Fluoroquinolones are highly effective in treating UTIs in women.

However, these antibiotics are generally reserved for patients with no alternative treatment option available.

This is because they can pose a risk to your mental health and cause low sugar levels.

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Antibiotics for complicated UTIs in women

UTIs in women are considered complicated if they are pregnantSource: tatyana_tomsickova from Getty Images
Pregnant woman

UTIs in women are considered complicated if:

  • They are pregnant
  • A urinary tract abnormality is present
  • The patient is a kid or elderly

The prescription of antibiotics is different in case of complicated UTIs.

Additionally, in these cases, follow-up urine tests are recommended in 10-14 days following the treatment.

Apart from Fluoroquinolones and TMP-SMX, recommended medications include:

Vabomere

Vabomere is FDA-approved for UTI treatment in adults. 

It contains Meropenem (Antibacterial) and Vaborbactam, which inhibit the resistance mechanism used by bacteria.

Fetroja

Fetroja is another antibiotic that the FDA has approved for use in treating kidney infections and complex UTIs.

A study including 448 patients with UTI exhibited the efficiency and safety of this medication.

After seven days of treatment, 72.6% of patients who got Fetroja had symptom relief and bacterial eradication.

Recarbrio

Recarbrio is another intravenous antibiotic used to treat serious bacterial infections, including UTIs.

It is a combination of three drugs, namely Imipenem-cilastatin, Relebactam, and a new inhibitor of Beta-lactamase.

Recarbrio is also known as a carbapenem-type antibiotic.

Warning:
Consult your doctor if you face recurring Urinary Tract Infections. Recurrence can be due to various reasons your doctor may tell you after a proper diagnosis.

Antibiotics safe for pregnant women

It is important to choose the safest option available for the mother and the fetus to avoid harming both of them.

In the past, Ampicillin has been the preferred medication, but in recent times, increased Ampicillin resistance has been observed.

Nitrofurantoin is another preferred choice because of its high urinary concentration.

Additionally, Cephalosporins and Fosfomycin could also be prescribed for pregnant women.

Note that while Sulfonamides is safe to be used in the first and second trimester, it is usually not prescribed in the third trimester.

Also Read: Exploring UTI Symptoms in Pregnancy and Some Prevention Tips for a Healthy Baby

It is because it puts the fetus at risk of developing Kernicterus, a type of brain damage.

Fact:
Kernicterus is a rare but serious neurological complication of untreated Jaundice in babies.

Other antibiotics, such as Fluoroquinolones and Tetracyclines, are not considered safe for use during pregnancy.

Best antibiotic for uti in elderly female

Studies have shown TMP-SMX to be a preferred oral antibiotic option for elderly women suspected of a UTI.

Apart from that, Amoxicillin and Nitrofurantoin are also safe to be prescribed to older adults.

A broad-spectrum antibiotic like Ciprofloxacin or Levofloxacin may be necessary for more serious infections.

Side effects of antibiotics for UTI

Nausea - side effectSource: Antonio_Diaz_from_Getty_Images
Nausea – side effect

While antibiotics offer relief from UTIs, they can also come with potential side effects. 

It is important to be aware of these possibilities and to consult a healthcare professional if you experience any adverse reactions. 

Common side effects include:

  • Digestive issues: Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are common side effects associated with antibiotics. Taking the medication with food or opting for alternative antibiotics might alleviate these symptoms
  • Allergic reactions: In some cases, antibiotics can trigger allergic reactions ranging from mild rashes to severe anaphylaxis. Seek prompt medical attention in case you notice any signs of an allergic reaction
  • Yeast infections: Antibiotics can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the body, potentially leading to yeast overgrowth and causing vaginal yeast infections
  • Resistant bacteria: Misuse or overuse of antibiotics can contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully to minimize this risk

Conclusion

UTIs can cause discomfort and disruption, but with the right antibiotics, relief is within reach. 

Hence, choosing the best antibiotic for UTI in females becomes extremely important.

The available options include Fosfomycin, Fluoroquinolones, Nitrofurantoin, and TMP-SMX.

For complicated UTIs in women, Vabomore, Fetroja, and Recarbrio could also be considered.

Commonly seen side effects of antibiotics include digestive issues, allergic reactions, yeast infections, and antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

If you are pregnant, opt for antibiotics that have been deemed safe for you and your unborn child. 

These medications include Nitrofurantoin, Cephalosporins, and Fosfomycin.

However, for older adults, Fluoroquinolones and TMP-SMX are preferred in short courses to avoid antibiotic resistance.

Remember, your well-being is the top priority, and with the right treatment, UTIs can be effectively managed, allowing you to regain your comfort and peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best antibiotic for UTI in the elderly?

The choice of antibiotics for elderly UTI patients should be based on individual health conditions. Common options include Ciprofloxacin, Trimethoprim/Sulfamethoxazole, or Nitrofurantoin, with careful consideration of drug interactions and kidney function.

Which are safe antibiotics for UTI during pregnancy?

Pregnant women can often take antibiotics like Amoxicillin, certain Fluoroquinolones, or Nitrofurantoin under medical supervision. These options are deemed safer for both the mother and the developing fetus. However, following the doctor’s instructions about duration and dosage is important for a safe and effective treatment.

What antibiotics treat UTI in females?

Common antibiotics used to treat UTIs in females include Trimethoprim/Sulfamethoxazole, Nitrofurantoin, Fosfomycin, and Fluoroquinolones. The choice depends on factors such as severity and bacteria type. Consult a healthcare professional for a personal diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

What is the first antibiotic for UTI?

The first-line antibiotic for UTIs is usually Trimethoprim/Sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim). However, the choice may vary based on factors like patient allergies, resistance patterns, and the severity of the infection. Consulting a healthcare provider is necessary for accurate treatment.

Citations:
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