Which medications in the drug class Antibiotics, Other are used in the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Updated: Apr 10, 2020
  • Author: William A Rowe, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Antibiotics, Other

Metronidazole (Flagyl) and ciprofloxacin (Cipro) are the most commonly used antibiotics in persons with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Antibiotics are less effective in persons with ulcerative colitis, except in fulminant toxic megacolon or pouchitis. Rifaximin (Xifaxan) is an FDA-approved broad-spectrum antibiotic that may also help treat patients with IBD.

Metronidazole (Flagyl, Flagyl ER, Metro)

Metronidazole is a widely available, inexpensive antibiotic and antiprotozoal agent. This agent inhibits protein synthesis and causes cell death in susceptible organisms by diffusing into the organism and causing a loss of helical DNA structure and strand breakage. Metronidazole's adverse-event profile includes headache, dysgeusia, and neuropathy.

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro, Cipro XR)

Ciprofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic commonly used for the treatment of urinary, skin, and respiratory tract infections. This agent inhibits bacterial DNA synthesis and, consequently, growth by inhibiting DNA gyrase and topoisomerases, which are required for replication, transcription, and translation of genetic material. Caution is advised with the use of ciprofloxacin regarding tendon rupture.

Rifaximin (Xifaxan)

Rifaximin is a nonabsorbed (<0.4%), broad-spectrum antibiotic specific for enteric pathogens of the gastrointestinal tract (ie, gram-positive, gram-negative, aerobic, anaerobic). It is a rifampin structural analog and it binds to the beta-subunit of bacterial DNA-dependent RNA polymerase, thereby inhibiting RNA synthesis.

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