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Antibiotics to Treat Prostatitis

By Joni Padua ; Updated August 14, 2017

Prostatitis is a common condition defined by the American Academy of Family Medicine (AAFP), as a wide spectrum of disorders ranging from acute bacterial infection to chronic pain syndromes, all of which involve inflammation of the prostate gland. Common symptoms of prostatitis include increased urinary frequency, pain in the groin area, and pain during urination. Treatment options for bacterial prostatitis include several types of antibiotics.


Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) is the antibiotic most often used as the first-line agent in treating prostatitis. The duration of therapy ranges from two to four weeks, depending on the type of prostatitis under treatment. The AAFP indicates that TMP-SMX cures up to 71 percent of patients who require antibiotics.

According to, the side effects of TMP-SMX include loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. People allergic to sulfa drugs should not receive this medication.


A class of highly effective antibiotics, fluoroquinolones include ofloxacin, norfloxacin, and ciprofloxacin. They are most commonly used for patients that fail to adequately improve or respond to treatment with TMP-SMX. Duration of treatment can last from four weeks to six months, depending on the type of prostatitis.

Fluoroquinolones have more severe side effects than TMP-SMX. The most commonly reported adverse reaction is gastrointestinal distress; tendinitis and tendon rupture are the most serious effects.

In July 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required fluoroquinolone drug manufacturers to include a boxed warning in their medication guides citing tendinitis and tendon rupture as serious side effects to watch out for. They recommended that physicians educate patients on the symptoms which include tendon pain, swelling and inflammation. Patients should stop taking the antibiotic if these symptoms are noted, avoid any exercise using the involved tendon, and promptly report to their health care provider.


Another class of antibiotic used in the treatment of prostatitis is tetracyclines, with doxycycline being the most commonly prescribed. Length of treatment usually varies from two to four weeks. Common side effects of these drugs include teeth discoloration and a burning sensation in the throat.

According to, children younger than 8-years-old should not receive tetracyclines as they can cause permanent yellowing or graying of the teeth. Patients should carefully avoid use of expired doxycycline because it can cause possible damage to the kidneys.

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