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Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

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Pneumonia - Medications

Doctors use antibiotics to treat pneumonia that is caused by bacteria. Although experts differ on their recommendations, the first antibiotic used is usually one that kills a wide range of bacteria (broad-spectrum antibiotic).8, 9 All antibiotics used have a high cure rate for pneumonia.5

There are many types of antibiotics. Your doctor will decide which antibiotic will work best for you. In most cases, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics without first identifying the exact organism causing the illness.

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If you don't get better with your first antibiotic, your doctor may add a second antibiotic to cover other bacteria that are not being treated with the first one. Or you may have more testing to identify the specific organism that is causing the pneumonia.

Sometimes doctors use two antibiotics when first starting treatment.

What to think about

More and more bacteria are becoming resistant to certain antibiotics, making them less effective. An example of this is MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is resistant to many types of penicillin. To help fight antibiotic resistance, ask your doctor how to take your antibiotics correctly, such as always finishing your prescription.

    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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