Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Swollen lymph nodes caused by a virus may return to normal after the viral infection resolves. Antibiotics are not useful to treat viral infections. Treatment for swollen lymph nodes from other causes depends on the cause:

  • Infection. The most common treatment for swollen lymph nodes caused by a bacterial infection is antibiotics. If your swollen lymph nodes are due to an HIV infection, you'll receive treatment for that condition.
  • Immune disorder. If your swollen lymph nodes are a result of certain conditions, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, treatment is directed at the underlying condition.
  • Cancer. Swollen nodes caused by cancer require treatment for the cancer. Depending on the type of cancer, treatment may involve surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.
Jan. 02, 2014

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