Hartford Hospital

Conditions In Depth

Search for

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

Community-acquired pneumonia is most often treated with macrolides (clarithromycin, azithromycin), doxycycline, or fluoroquinolones (levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, gatifloxacin).

Hospital-acquired pneumonia may need to be treated with a combination of antibiotics if infected with multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotics work by killing bacteria or preventing them from growing and reproducing. The choice of antibiotic depends on the type of bacteria that is believed to be causing the infection. The way the antibiotic is administered (by mouth or intravenously) depends on how ill you are and whether you have any other medical conditions that put you at risk for severe infection or complications.

You must take every dose of an antibiotic. Even if you’re feeling better, be sure to complete the course of medicine recommended by your healthcare provider.

Antibiotics may cause allergic reactions in susceptible people. You should discontinue your medicine and immediately contact your doctor if you experience:

  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Puffy face
  • Puffiness around the eyes
  • Difficulty breathing

Many antibiotics interact with other medicines. To avoid any dangerous or uncomfortable drug interactions, tell your doctor about all other medicines you are using.

Common names include:

  • Amoxicillin (Amoxil, Trimox)
  • Amoxicillin-clavulanate (Augmentin)
  • Piperacillin-tazobactam (Zosyn)
  • Cephalexin (Keflex)
  • Cefadroxil (Duricef, Ultracef)
  • Cefaclor (Ceclor)
  • Cefuroxime (Ceftin)
  • Cefpodoxime (Vantin)
  • Loracarbef (Lorabid)
  • Cefditoren (Spectracef)
  • Cefixime (Suprax)
  • Ceftibuten (Cedax)
  • Cefepime (Maxipime)
  • Meropenem (Merrem)
  • Imipenem/cilastatin (Primaxin)

Possible side effects include:

  • Diarrhea—This may be severe; in which case, you should contact your doctor.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding problems—Check with your healthcare provider if you notice easy bruising, increased bleeding, or spontaneous bleeding.
  • Some beta-lactam antibiotics interfere with oral contraceptives. Use another form of contraception while you are taking these medicines.
  • Some cephalosporins should not be taken with alcohol. Check with your doctor.
  • Some beta-lactam antibiotics interfere with sugar levels in diabetic patients. Check with your doctor before you change your dose of insulin or other diabetes drugs.

Common names include:

  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
  • Gemifloxacin (Factive)
  • Gatifloxacin (Tequin)
  • Moxifloxacin (Avelox)

If you are taking antacids or sucralfate, do not take them within two hours of taking a fluoroquinolone. Take these drugs with a full glass of water. They may be taken either on an empty stomach or with meals.

Possible side effects include:

  • Increased sensitivity to sun
  • Some people taking these medicines feel lightheaded. Do not drive or participate in potentially hazardous activities until you know how these medicines will affect you.
  • Inflamed, torn tendons
  • For levofloxacin—Check with doctor before taking this drug if you are taking medicine for your heartbeat.

Common names include:

  • Erythromycin
  • Azithromycin (Zithromax)
  • Clarithromycin (Biaxin)

Possible side effects include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Common names include:

  • Tetracycline
  • Doxycycline
  • Minocycline

Always take these medicines with a full glass of water.

Possible side effects include:

  • Stomach cramps, burning
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tetracycline can cause discolored teeth in children.
  • When pregnant women take tetracycline, their children may have discolored teeth.
  • Increased sun sensitivity
  • Some people taking minocycline feel lightheaded. Do not drive or participate in potentially hazardous activities until you know how this medicine will affect you.
  • Decreased effectiveness of oral contraceptive—Use another form of contraception while your are taking tetracyclines.

Common names include:

  • Co-trimoxazole
  • Bactrim
  • Septra

These medicines are usually not prescribed for infants less than two months old. Elderly people have an increased risk of skin and bleeding problems with these medicines, especially if they are using diuretics. Always take the medicines with a full glass of water.

Possible side effects include:

  • Increased sensitivity to sun
  • Itching
  • Skin rash
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach upset

Common names include:

  • Gentamicin
  • Kanamycin
  • Tobramycin
  • Amikacin

Aminoglycosides are usually given through an intravenous needle into your vein.

Because aminoglycosides can affect the kidneys, hearing, balance, and muscles, be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you already have conditions that affect those body systems. Depending on your condition, a different antibiotic may be chosen.

Possible side effects include:

  • Kidney problems
  • Hearing problems
  • Balance problems
  • Muscle weakness, especially in patients who already have conditions like Parkinson’s disease and myasthenia gravis
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Numbness, tingling, burning sensations in face and/or mouth
  • Seizures
  • Muscle twitches

Common names include: Clindamycin (Cleocin)

Possible side effects include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Itching

Common names include Vancomycin.

These medicines are given through an intravenous needle into your vein.

These drugs can be hard on the kidneys and on hearing and balance. Tell your healthcare provider if you already have conditions that affect those body systems.

Common names include: Linezolid (Zyvox)

Possible side effects include:

  • Drop in white blood cells and increased risk of infection
  • Drop in platelets and increased risk of:
    • Bleeding
    • Easy bruising
    • Slow healing
  • High blood pressure, especially when taken with aged cheeses, smoked foods, beer, wine, or soy sauce

There are more and more drugs developed for the treatment of different types of viral pneumonia, including:

Common names include:

  • Amphotericin B (Amphocil, Fungizone)
  • Fluconazole (Diflucan)
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox)
  • Flucytosine (Ancobon)

Antifungal medicines are available to fight fungal pneumonias. You must take every dose of an antifungal. Even if you’re feeling better, be sure to complete the course of medicine recommended by your doctor.

Antifungal medicines may cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. You should discontinue your medicine and immediately contact your doctor provider if you experience:

  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Puffy face
  • Puffiness around eyes
  • Difficulty breathing

Many antifungal medicines interact with other medicines. Make sure your doctor knows about all other medicines you are using to avoid any dangerous or uncomfortable drug interactions. Be sure that your doctor knows about any other medical conditions you may have.

Possible side effects include:

  • Increased sun sensitivity
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Skin rash
  • Itching
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Common brand name includes: Tylenol

Acetaminophen can be helpful in relieving some of the fever and pain associated with pneumonia. It’s also safe to give to children. Do not take a larger dose than is recommended by your doctor. Do not drink alcoholic beverages while you are taking acetaminophen.

Common brand names include:

  • Motrin
  • Advil

Ibuprofen can also help relieve some of the fever and pain associated with pneumonia. Ibuprofen may irritate the stomach; you should take this medicine with food. Drinking alcoholic beverages while you are taking ibuprofen can increase the chance that it will irritate your stomach.

On rare occasions, people have allergic reactions to ibuprofen. If you notice a new skin rash, difficulty breathing, or puffiness or swelling in your face or around your eyes, stop taking ibuprofen and immediately contact your doctor.

Whenever you are taking a prescription medicine, take the following precautions:

  • Take them as directed—not more, not less, not at a different time.
  • Do not stop taking them without consulting your doctor.
  • Don’t share them with anyone else.
  • Ask what effects and side effects to expect. Report them to your doctor.
  • If you are taking more than one drug, even if it is over-the-counter, be sure to check with a physician or pharmacist about drug interactions.
References:

Bjerre LM, Verheij TJ, et al. Antibiotic for community acquired pneumonia in adult outpatients. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;2:CD002109

Carratala J, Martin-Herrero JE, et al. Clinical experience in the management of community-acquired pneumonia: lessons from the use of fluoroquinolones. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2006;12:2-11

How is pneumonia treated? National Heart Lung Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pnu/treatment.html. Updated March 1, 2011. Accessed April 3, 2013.

Kabra SK, Lodha R, et al. Antibiotics for community acquired pneumonia in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;3:CD004874

Pneumonia symptoms diagnosis and treatment. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/pneumonia/symptoms-diagnosis-and.html. Accessed April 3, 2013.

Pneumonia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated March 25, 2013. Accessed April 3, 2013.

Pneumonia in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated March 18, 2013. Accessed April 3, 2013.

Schmidt-Ioanas M, Lode H. Treatment of pneumonia in elderly patients. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2006;7:499-507

11/21/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Yahar D, Paul M, Fraser A, Sarid N, Leibovi L. Efficacy and safety of cefepime: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2007;7:338-348.

Last reviewed June 2013 by Brian Randall, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


 
CreativeChangePowered by: Creative Change, Inc.