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Antibiotics

Also indexed as: Bacitracin, Caci-IM, Chloramphenicol, Chlormycetin, Colistimethate, ColyMycin, Furazolidone, Furoxone, Lincocin, Lincomycin, Linezolid, Vancocin, Vancomycin, Zyvox

Illustration

Antibiotics are used to either kill or slow down the growth of bacteria and are divided into the categories listed below.

Summary of Interactions with Vitamins, Herbs, and Foods
In some cases, an herb or supplement may appear in more than one category, which may seem contradictory. For clarification, read the full article for details about the summarized interactions.

Beneficial May Be Beneficial: Depletion or interference—The medication may deplete or interfere with the absorption or function of the nutrient. Taking these nutrients may help replenish them.

Vitamin K

Beneficial May Be Beneficial: Side effect reduction/prevention—Taking these supplements may help reduce the likelihood and/or severity of a potential side effect caused by the medication.

Bifidobacterium longum

Lactobacillus acidophilus

Lactobacillus casei

Saccharomyces boulardii

Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Vitamin K

Beneficial May Be Beneficial: Supportive interaction—Taking these supplements may support or otherwise help your medication work better.

Saccharomyces boulardii

Reduced drug absorption/bioavailability

None known

Adverse interaction

None known

Interactions common to many, if not all, Antibiotics are described in this article. Interactions reported for only one or several drugs in this class may not be listed in this article. Some drugs listed in this article are linked to articles specific to that respective drug; please refer to those individual drug articles. The information in this article may not necessarily apply to drugs in this class for which no separate article exists. If you are taking an Antibiotic for which no separate article exists, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

An asterisk (*) next to an item in the summary indicates that the interaction is supported only by weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Interactions common to most, if not all, antibiotics are described in this article. For interactions involving a specific antibiotic refer to the highlighted drugs listed below.

Aminoglycosides

  • Amikacin (Amikin®)
  • Gentamicin (Garamycin®)
  • Kanamycin (Kantrex®)
  • Neomycin (Mycifradin®)
  • Netilmicin (Netromycin®)
  • Paromomycin (Humatin®)
  • Streptomycin
  • Tobramycin (TOBI Solution®, TobraDex®, Nebcin®)

Beta-lactam antibiotics

Cephalosporins

  • Aztreonam (Azactam® for injection)
  • Cefaclor (Ceclor®)
  • Cefadroxil (Duricef®)
  • Cefamandole (Mandol®)
  • Cefazolin (Ancef®, Kefzol®)
  • Cefdinir (Omnicef®)
  • Cefepime (Maxipime®)
  • Cefixime (Suprax®)
  • Cefoperazone (Cefobid®)
  • Cefotaxime (Claforan®)
  • Cefotetan (Cefotan®)
  • Cefoxitin (Mefoxin®)
  • Cefpodoxime (Vantin®)
  • Cefprozil (Cefzil®)
  • Ceftazidime (Ceptaz®, Fortaz®, Tazicef®, Tazidime®)
  • Ceftibuten (Cedax®)
  • Ceftizoxime (Cefizox®)
  • Ceftriaxone (Rocephin®)
  • Cefuroxime (Ceftin®, Kefurox®, Zinacef®)
  • Cephalexin (Keflex®, Keftab®)
  • Cephapirin (Cefadyl®)
  • Cephradine (Anspor®, Velocef®)
  • Imipenem and Cilastatin (Primaxin I.V.®)
  • Loracarbef (Lorabid®)
  • Meropenem (Merrem I.V.®)

Macrolides

  • Azithromycin (Zithromax®)
  • Clarithromycin (Biaxin®)
  • Dirithromycin (Dynabac®)
  • Erythromycin oral (EES®, EryPed®, Ery-Tab®, PCE Dispertab®, Pediazole®)
  • Erythromycin topical (A/T/S®, Akne-Mycin®, Erygel®, Erycette®, Eryderm®, Erygel®)
  • Troleandomycin (Tao®)

Penicillins

  • Amoxicillin (Amoxil®, Trimox®)
  • Amoxicillin and Clavulanate (Augmentin®)
  • Ampicillin (Principen®, Totacillin®)
  • Ampicillin + sulbactam (Unisyn®)
  • Bacampicillin (Spectrobid®)
  • Carbenicillin (Geocillin®)
  • Cloxacillin (Cloxapen®)
  • Dicloxacillin (Dynapen®, Dycill®)
  • Mezlocillin (Mezlin®)
  • Nafcillin (Unipen®)
  • Oxacillin (Bactocill®)
  • Penicillin G (Bicillin C-R®, Bicillin L-A®, Pfizerpen®)
  • Penicillin V (Beepen-VK®, Veetids®)
  • Piperacillin (Pipracil®)
  • Piperacillin and Tazobactam (Zosyn®)
  • Ticarcillin (Ticar®)
  • Ticarcillin and Clavulantae (Timentin®)

Quinolones

  • Cinoxacin (Cinobac®)
  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro®)
  • Enoxacin (Penetrex®)
  • Gatifloxacin (Tequin®)
  • Levofloxacin (Levaquin®)
  • Lomefloxacin (Maxaquin®)
  • Moxifloxacin (Avelox®)
  • Nalidixic acid (NegGram®)
  • Norfloxacin (Noroxin®)
  • Ofloxacin (Floxin®)
  • Sparfloxacin (Zagam®)
  • Trovafloxacin and Alatrofloxacin (Trovan®)

Sulfonamides

  • Silver sulfadiazine (Silvadene®, SSD®)
  • Sodium sulfacetamide (AK-Sulf®, Bleph-10®, Sodium Sulamyd®)
  • Sulfamethoxazole (Gantanol®)
  • Sulfanilamide (AVC®)
  • Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine®)
  • Sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin®)
  • Trimethoprim and Sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim®, Cotrim®, Septra®, Sulfatrim Pediatric®)
  • Triple Sulfa (Sultrin Triple Sulfa®)

Tetracyclines

  • Demeclocycline (Declomycin®)
  • Doxycycline (Monodox®, Periostat®, Vibramycin®, Vibra-Tabs®)
  • Minocycline (Dynacin®, Minocin®, Vectrin®)
  • Oxytetracycline (Terramycin®)
  • Tetracycline (Sumycin®, Tetracyn®)

Miscellaneous antibiotics

Interactions with Dietary Supplements

Probiotics
A common side effect of antibiotics is diarrhea, which may be caused by the elimination of beneficial bacteria normally found in the colon. Controlled studies have shown that taking probiotic microorganisms—such as Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, or Saccharomyces boulardii—helps prevent antibiotic-induced diarrhea.1

The diarrhea experienced by some people who take antibiotics also might be due to an overgrowth of the bacterium Clostridium difficile, which causes a disease known as pseudomembranous colitis. Controlled studies have shown that supplementation with harmless yeast—such as Saccharomyces boulardii2 or Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s or brewer’s yeast)3 —helps prevent recurrence of this infection. In one study, taking 500 mg of Saccharomyces boulardii twice daily enhanced the effectiveness of the antibiotic vancomycin in preventing recurrent clostridium infection.4 Therefore, people taking antibiotics who later develop diarrhea might benefit from supplementing with saccharomyces organisms.

Treatment with antibiotics also commonly leads to an overgrowth of yeast (Candida albicans) in the vagina (candida vaginitis) and the intestines (sometimes referred to as “dysbiosis”). Controlled studies have shown that Lactobacillus acidophilus might prevent candida vaginitis.5

Vitamin K
Several cases of excessive bleeding have been reported in people who take antibiotics.6 7 8 9 This side effect may be the result of reduced vitamin K activity and/or reduced vitamin K production by bacteria in the colon. One study showed that people who had taken broad-spectrum antibiotics had lower liver concentrations of vitamin K2 (menaquinone), though vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) levels remained normal.10 Several antibiotics appear to exert a strong effect on vitamin K activity, while others may not have any effect. Therefore, one should refer to a specific antibiotic for information on whether it interacts with vitamin K. Doctors of natural medicine sometimes recommend vitamin K supplementation to people taking antibiotics. Aditional research is needed to determine whether the amount of vitamin K1 found in some multivitamins is sufficient to prevent antibiotic-induced bleeding. Moreover, most multivitamins do not contain vitamin K.

References:

1. Elmer GW, Surawicz CM, McFarland LV. Biotherapeutic agents. A neglected modality for the treatment and prevention of selected intestinal and vaginal infections. JAMA 1996;275:870–6 [review].

2. Elmer GW, Surawicz CM, McFarland LV. Biotherapeutic agents. A neglected modality for the treatment and prevention of selected intestinal and vaginal infections. JAMA 1996;275:870–6 [review].

3. Schellenberg D, Bonington A, Champion CM, et al. Treatment of Clostridium difficile diarrhoea with brewer’s yeast. Lancet 1994;343:171–2.

4. Surawicz CM, Elmer GW, Speelman P, et al. Prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea by Saccharomyces boulardii: A prospective study. Gastroenterol 1989;96:981–8.

5. Elmer GW, Surawicz CM, McFarland LV. Biotherapeutic agents. A neglected modality for the treatment and prevention of selected intestinal and vaginal infections. JAMA 1996;275:870–6 [review].

6. Suzuki K, Fukushima T, Meguro K, et al. Intracranial hemorrhage in an infant owing to vitamin K deficiency despite prophylaxis. Childs Nerv Syst 1999;15:292–4.

7. Huilgol VR, Markus SL, Vakil NB. Antibiotic-induced iatrogenic hemobilia. Am J Gastroenterol 1997;92:706–7.

8. Bandrowsky T, Vorono AA, Borris TJ, Marcantoni HW. Amoxicllin-related postextraction bleeding in an anticoagulated patient with tranexamic acid rinses. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 1996;82:610–2.

9. Kaiser CW, McAuliffe JD, Barth RJ, Lynch JA. Hypoprothrombinemia and hemorrhage in a surgical patient treated with cefotetan. Arch Surg 1991;126:524–5.

10. Conly J, Stein K. Reduction of vitamin K2 concentration in human liver associated with the use of broad spectrum antimicrobials. Clin Invest Med 1994;17:531–9.

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