A diagram showing diverticulitis and other colon problems.
When inflammation and infection of the intestinal diverticula occur, there are several antibiotics for diverticulitis that a doctor can prescribe to a patient. For relatively mild cases, oral antibiotics are usually sufficient; some common ones are ciprofloxacin, metronidazole and doxycycline. Levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, or cephalexin may also be used. Patients with more severe cases of diverticulitis may need to be admitted to a hospital where antibiotics can be given intravenously while their digestive systems can rest and recover.
Intravenous antibiotics and hospital monitoring may be necessary for a serious infection.
One of the most common antibiotics for diverticulitis is ciprofloxacin. This broad-spectrum antibiotic is often preferred for treating abdominal infections and is often very effective. Side effects are typically quite mild and limited to problems such as nausea and vomiting, a rash, or a headache, although more serious problems can occur if the drug is not taken as prescribed. Some other types of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as moxifloxacin or levofloxacin, can sometimes be used instead.
Taking ciprofloxacin for diverticulitis can cause nausea.
Another of the commonly prescribed antibiotics for diverticulitis is metronidazole. Like ciprofloxacin, it is a broad-spectrum antibiotic and is often used for abdominal infections. Most patients tolerate metronidazole very well, with only mild side effects such as loss of appetite, nausea and headache, although some people may experience more serious effects such as numbness in the hands or feet.
Antibiotic treatment for diverticulitis depletes the body of good bacteria that aid digestion and may require a probiotic supplement to replenish a healthy supply.
Doxycycline is also one of the antibiotics that doctors often use to treat patients. This medication is also a broad-spectrum antibiotic and is very good at treating a wide variety of infections. It is well tolerated by most people, although, like many other antibiotics, it can cause nausea or vomiting. It also tends to make people who take it sensitive to sunlight.
Headaches are a common side effect of antibiotics commonly prescribed for diverticulitis.
Cephalexin is another antibiotic that can be used to treat diverticulitis. This medication is in the class of antibiotics known as cephalosporins. These antibiotics are similar to penicillin, so people who are allergic to this drug may not be able to take cephalexin. Side effects are usually mild and similar to other antibiotics and can include nausea, diarrhea, and headache.
When a patient is suffering from a severe diverticulitis infection, intravenous antibiotics may be needed. Patients will need to stay in a hospital so doctors can administer the drugs and monitor how effectively they are fighting the infection. A variety of different antibiotics can be used; some possibilities may include aztreonam, cefoxitin or ertapenem.