Antibiotics are important in controlling the bacterial overgrowth that can sometimes occur in the small intestine in the patients with Crohn's disease. They are also commonly used for treating infections such as abscesses. Antibiotics may also be useful for treating some cases of active Crohn's disease and are commonly used to treat pouchitis in ulcerative colitis patients who have undergone an ileoanal-pouch procedure.

Typical antibiotics are ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and metronidazole (Flagyl). Either antibiotic, used alone or in combination, is effective and can help maintain remission in patients who have experienced repeated episodes of pouchitis. Because patients may be on long-term therapy, antibiotics carry a risk of side effects and drug interactions.

Side Effects of Metronidazole (Flagyl)

  • taste disturbances

  • numbness and tingling of hands and feet

  • nausea

  • decreased appetite

  • flushing and malaise with the use of alcohol


Side Effects of Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

  • nausea

  • susceptibility to the sun: increased risk of sunburn, skin reaction

  • decreased absorption with calcium and iron supplements, antacid

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