Skip to content

    Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

    Font Size

    Choice of Antibiotics for Pneumonia

    Many classes of antibiotics can treat pneumonia. The antibiotic your doctor chooses typically will be based on:

    • Your age.
    • Your symptoms.
    • How severe your pneumonia is.
    • Other medical problems that you have, if any.
    • What type of bacteria may be causing your pneumonia. Most cases of bacterial pneumonia in otherwise healthy people are caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Several other bacteria may cause pneumonia in the very young, older adults, and those who have other diseases.
    • Whether you have a type of bacteria that some medicines can no longer kill (resistant bacteria).
    • Whether you are allergic to any antibiotics.

    Your doctor's choice of antibiotics may also depend on whether you:

    • Are otherwise healthy and do not have to go to a hospital for treatment.
    • Have other medical conditions but still do not have to go to the hospital.
    • Have to go to the hospital.
    • Have to go to an intensive care unit.

    Choosing an antibiotic based on these things avoids the need for extensive culture and sensitivity testing and allows for rapid treatment that has a high rate of cure.

    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
    Specialist Medical ReviewerR. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology

    Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014

    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.

    Today on WebMD

    man coughing
    You may not even know you have it.
    blood clot
    Signs of this potentially fatal complication.
    man coughing
    When a cold becomes bronchitis.
    human lungs
    Causes behind painful breathing, fluid buildup.

    chest x-ray
    Bronchitis Overview
    Copd Myth Fact Quiz
    Energy Boosting Foods

    woman coughing
    Lung xray and caduceus