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Children's Health

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Urinary Tract Infections in Children - Medications

Oral antibiotic medicine usually is effective in treating urinary tract infections (UTIs). In many cases, if the symptoms and urinalysis suggest a UTI, the doctor will start medicine without waiting for the results of a urine culture.

The doctor may give intravenous (IV) antibiotics if your baby is:

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  • Younger than 3 months.
  • Too ill or nauseated to take oral medicine.
  • Very sick with a severe kidney infection.

The doctor will stop the IV medicine and begin oral medicine treatment after your child is stabilized and feeling better.

Preventive antibiotics

To prevent kidney damage that can result from recurrent infection, the doctor may prescribe long-term treatment with antibiotics for children who are at risk for repeat infections. The doctor may consider preventive antibiotics:

  • While waiting for the results of tests done after treatment for a child's first UTI.
  • If tests show a structural problem in the urinary tract, such as vesicoureteral reflux, that increases the child's risk for recurrent UTIs.
  • For children who have frequent UTIs, with or without an abnormality of the urinary tract.

Preventive treatment may last from several months to several years. Experts disagree about the best approach. Some doctors believe that long-term use of low-dose antibiotics can safely prevent UTIs in children, especially in children who have vesicoureteral reflux. Whether long-term antibiotics prevent kidney damage needs more study. Some doctors are more hesitant about prescribing antibiotics for long-term use because of increasing concern about the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Medication choices

Antibiotics are used to kill the bacteria that cause UTIs.

What to think about

Give your child the antibiotics as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of medicine. Your child may begin to feel better soon after starting the medicine. But if you stop giving your child the medicine too soon, the infection may return or get worse. Also, not taking the full course of medicine encourages the development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. This makes antibiotics less effective and future bacterial infections harder to treat.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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