I Didn’t Get the Antibiotic I Expected for My UTI, What’s up with That?

Written by Lindsey Mcilvena, MD, MPH

Why didn’t I get the antibiotic I requested? Why didn’t I get cipro? Why didn’t I get a zpack or docycycline?

Why didn't I get the antibiotic I wanted/expected?

The antibiotic chosen for you by your doctor is based on your allergies, your medical history, and the guidelines for treating UTIs in females. Macrobid and Bactrim are the first-line preferred antibiotics because they are generally well-tolerated and safe. Augmentin, Keflex (Cephalexin), Fosfomycin, and Cipro are sometimes used depending on the particular case. Other antibiotics besides those mentioned are used rarely depending upon the case. If a UTI has recurred within 1-2 months of the previous infection, typically a different medicine will be used; repeating the same antibiotic may lead to bacterial resistance, where the antibiotic doesn’t work.

Why didn’t I get Cipro?

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) is a medication that is often used to treat bacteria that cause infections in the bones, joints, skin, and respiratory tract. Ciprofloxacin is sometimes used for the treatment of severe urinary tract infections as well, however, it is not the first choice of antibiotics for UTIs. Cipro is associated with increased side effects - such as the rupturing (or breaking) of tendons, tendonitis (the inflammation of tendons), as well as irregular heart rhythms (which include a heart rate that is too fast or missed heartbeats). In some situations, these can be very serious side effects. Macrobid is typically first choice treatment because it treats most of the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections, and has less risks of side effects.

Why didn’t I get prescribed a z-pak or doxycycline?

These two medications are typically used to treat non-UTI infections - they don’t treat UTIs as well as the main UTI antibiotics. Z paks are commonly used for upper respiratory infections like pneumonia, while doxycycline is also used for pneumonia and acne in some cases.

What should I do now? I’m worried about taking a different antibiotic.

If you’re concerned about the antibiotic you were prescribed, talk to your doctor about why they made that choice - there is usually a good reason for it. In most cases it’s a good idea to try the medication you were prescribed and watch out for any side effects. But - if you were accidentally prescribed a medication that you’ve been allergic to in the past, definitely don’t take it. Call your doctor or nurse and let them know what’s going on.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of HeyDoctor, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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