Antibiotics and Crohn’s Disease

Although a faulty immune system is often blamed for the disease, studies of the role antibiotics play in treating Crohn’s are starting to suggest that the immune system may be doing exactly what it’s supposed to do: fighting infection.Research has shown the presence of a bacterium called Mycobacterium avium ss paratuberculosis, or M-para, in the intestines of people with Crohn’s. Treating the condition with antibiotics that target M-para has produced encouraging results in clinical trials, with claims of long-term remission of symptoms. Others suggest that M-para may be only one of a number of bacteria that contribute to the disease. In either case, clinical studies are taking the possibility of antibiotic treatments very seriously.

Traditional Antibiotic Treatments for Crohn’s Disease. The viability of using antibiotics to treat the disease directly has yet to be proven. In the meantime, antibiotics continue to be used to treat associated bacterial overgrowths and secondary infections. Antibiotics are also often used to treat intestinal obstructions, fistulas, abscesses and post-surgery infections. Ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, and metronidazole (known under the brand name Flagyl®) are the drugs most often used, but many other antibiotics are available. Below you’ll find brief descriptions of some of the more common Crohn’s-related antibiotics.

Antibiotics Comments Side Effects
Ampicillin
Ampicillin is closely related to penicillin, and people with allergies to penicillin should inform their doctor before using ampicillin.
Medical professionals should be informed that you take ampicillin if any form of surgery (including dental) is required.
-upset stomach
-diarrhea
-vomiting
-skin rashes.
Seek medical attention if you develop:
hives
-itching
-difficulty swallowing
-breathing difficulties
-severe rashes
-vaginal infections.
Ciprofloxacin
Often used with metronidazole (Flagyl), ciprofloxacin should not be taken while pregnant or nursing. It is not intended for use by children.
Inform your doctor of any prescription or nonprescription drugs you may be taking, Ciprofloxacin has a long list of potential drug interactions.
If you have diabetes, nervous system diseases, heart disease, tendonitis, liver or kidney disease, inform your doctor before taking ciprofloxacin.
-sun sensitivity
-lightheadedness
-insomnia
-dizziness
-abdominal pain.
Metronidazole (Flagyl)
Metronidazole is very effective when used to treat colitis and anal fistulas.
If you take anticoagulants, disulfiram or lithium, inform your doctor before taking Flagyl.
In high doses, metronidazole can cause nerve damage. Conditions such as blood disorder, heart disease, liver disease and central nervous system diseases are often aggravated by metronidazole.
When taken with alcohol:
-nausea
-headaches
-dizziness
-lightheadedness
-metallic taste in the mouth
-rashes
-redness of the face.

Check with your health professional for other side effects.

Sulfonamide
One of the sulfa-based antibiotics, sulfonamide is not recommended for use while pregnant or nursing.
Inform your health professional of all medications you take and any allergies you have to medications before starting sulfonamide.
Let your doctor know if you suffer from anemia or other blood diseases, glucose deficiency, kidney or liver problems. Taking sulfonamide if you have porphyria may bring on an attack.
-sun sensitivity
-itching
-rashes
-skin problems
-fever
-sore throat
-difficulty swallowing.
Tetracycline
Before taking tetracycline, report any allergies to medication to your doctor, especially antibiotic allergies.
Report any medication you currently use, including antacids, antibiotics, anticoagulants and vitamin supplements.
Do not take while pregnant or nursing. Inform your doctor if you have diabetes, liver disease or kidney disease.
-stomach problems
-diarrhea
-rectal or vaginal         itching
-skin rashes
-sore mouth
-yellow eyes
-yellow skin.

 

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