Drugs for Bladder Infections That Aren't Sulfa

Bladder infections, also called urinary tract infections or cystitis, are a common occurrence in both men and women. People commonly develop bladder infections due to the E. coli bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract. According to MayoClinic.com, women are more prone to bladder infections due to the close proximity of the urethra to the anus. Symptoms of bladder infections include a strong urge to urinate, burning sensation during urination, blood in the urine, low-grade fever and pressure in the abdomen. Physicians commonly treat bladder infections with sulfa drugs but in the case of a sulfa allergy, several other medications are available.

Woman holding a prescription pill bottle (Image: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)


Amoxicillin is a commonly prescribed antibiotic that helps treat bacterial infections in the ears, nose, urinary tract, skin and throat. Amoxicillin comes as a capsule, tablet, chewable tablet, liquid suspension or pediatric drops. The National Institutes of Health explains that patients commonly take amoxicillin every eight or 12 hours with or without food. Side effects of amoxicillin can include upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, side effects may be serious including severe skin rash, hives, seizures, yellowing of the skin or eyes, unusual bleeding or bruising, excessive tiredness, pale skin and lack of energy. Patients experiencing any adverse effects should alert physicians as they may need to change the medication.


Physicians often choose nitrofurantoin for the treatment of bladder infections. Nitrofurantoin works by killing the bacteria and inhibiting further growth. According to MayoClinic.com, physicians commonly prescribe nitrofurantoin for pregnant women suffering from bladder infections or urinary tract infections. Nitrofurantoin comes as a tablet, liquid suspension or capsule taken by mouth once or twice a day with milk or food. Side effects of nitrofurantoin can include changes in skin color, chest pain, chills, cough, fever, hives, hoarseness, itching, joint or muscle pain, skin rash and trouble breathing.


Ciprofloxacin is used to treat or prevent many bacterial infections and physicians commonly prescribe it for bladder infections. Ciprofloxacin comes as a tablet, a liquid suspension and an extended-release tablet taken once or twice a day by mouth with or without food. The National Institutes of Health advise that patients should not take ciprofloxacin with dairy products or calcium-fortified juices. Taking ciprofloxacin may increase the risk of developing tendonitis or having a tendon rupture during treatment and up to several months afterwards. Side effects of ciprofloxacin may include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhea, feeling an urgent need to urinate, vaginal discharge or itching and headache. Ciprofloxacin may cause serious side effects such as severe diarrhea, rash or blisters, hives, itching, hoarseness, wheezing, rapid, irregular or pounding heart beat, fainting, fever, joint or muscle pain, anxiety, restlessness, nervousness, dizziness and dark urine. Patients should alert physician immediately if any of these side effects occur.

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