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 people who may not be candidates for ciprofloxacin, such as children.

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 fever, especially in the developing world. In recent years, S. typhi also has proved resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and ampicillin.

Other treatments

Other treatments 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 (intravenously).
  • Surgery. If your intestines become perforated, you'll need surgery to repair the hole.
July 11, 2015