Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Antibiotic therapy is the only effective treatment for typhoid fever.

Commonly prescribed antibiotics

  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro). In the United States, doctors often prescribe this for nonpregnant adults.
  • Ceftriaxone (Rocephin). This injectable antibiotic is an alternative for women who are pregnant and for children who may not be candidates for ciprofloxacin.

These drugs can cause side effects, and long-term use can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Problems with antibiotic resistance

In the past, the drug of choice was chloramphenicol. Doctors no longer commonly use it, however, because of side effects, a high rate of health deterioration after a period of improvement (relapse), and widespread bacterial resistance.

In fact, the existence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a growing problem in the treatment of typhoid, especially in the developing world. In recent years, S. typhi also has proved resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and ampicillin.

Supportive therapy

Other treatment steps aimed at managing symptoms include:

  • Drinking fluids. This helps prevent the dehydration that results from a prolonged fever and diarrhea. If you're severely dehydrated, you may need to receive fluids through a vein in your arm (intravenously).
  • Eating a healthy diet. Nonbulky, high-calorie meals can help replace the nutrients you lose when you're sick.
Aug. 22, 2012