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Medications for Urinary Tract Infections That Can Worsen MS-Related Fatigue

Tiredness Can Be a Side Effect of These Medications

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Updated November 06, 2013

Fatigue and Multiple Sclerosis

Most of us with multiple sclerosis (MS) suffer from fatigue. In fact, an estimated 70% of people with MS say that fatigue is their most disabling symptom. While much of our fatigue comes from the disease process itself or MS-related heat intolerance, there are many secondary causes of fatigue in MS. One thing that may be contributing to your fatigue could actually be some of the medications that you are taking to slow your MS or deal with specific symptoms. If you suffer from MS-related fatigue, it is important to investigate all possible causes, including side effects from some of your medications.

Medications to Treat or Prevent Urinary Tract Infections in Multiple Sclerosis

People with MS are much more prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs) than other people. The main reason for this is MS-related bladder dysfunction, especially problems which cause urine to be retained in the bladder, where it stagnates. Also, people with urinary incontinence, urgency or frequency may restrict liquids in an attempt to reduce their problem. This can also lead to reduced flow of urine with UTIs as a consequence. There are many preventive measures to take to reduce your chances of getting UTIs (such as drinking cranberry juice), but once you have one, it must be treated with an antibiotic, or one runs the danger of developing a more serious infection or permanent problems. Unfortunately, the antibiotics used to treat UTIs can have some pretty unpleasant side effects, including fatigue. The list below also contains medications to reduce UTI symptoms and prevent UTIs, which also can contribute to feeling “washed-out.”

But “Fatigue” Isn’t Listed as a Side Effect of My Drug:

Most of the medications listed below have “tiredness” or “drowsiness” as a potential side effect. Some list “dizziness” or “weakness.” Others also have side effects like “sweating,” “trembling,” “difficulty breathing,” “lightheadedness,” “flushing,” “confusion,” “nausea/vomiting” or “fainting spells.” For someone that does not have MS, many of these effects could just be a passing annoyance. However, for those of us who battle MS-related fatigue on a daily basis, any of the discomforts listed above may be enough to tip the balance between a good day and a bad day, fatigue-wise.

Note To My Non-U.S. Friends: The list below includes brand names of drugs prescribed in the United States. For people in other countries, please refer to the generic name of the medication (which may be spelled slightly differently, depending on the country). Thanks for your understanding.

List of Antibiotics and Other Medications to Treat and Prevent UTIs That Can Contribute to Fatigue

Sulfamethoxazole (Gantanol): An antibiotic to treat UTIs and other infections, available as tablets.

Sulfamethoxazole; Trimethoprim, SMX-TMP (Septra, Co-Trimoxazole, and others): A combination of two antibiotics that is used to treat severe UTIs, available as an injection, oral suspension or tablets.

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro, Proquin): An antibiotic to treat UTIs, available in extended-release tablets, injection, oral suspension or tablets.

Nitrofurantoin (Furadantin, Macrodantin): An antibiotic to treat cystitis and other UTIs, available in oral suspension, tablets or capsules.

Phenazopyridine (Pyridiate, Pyridium, Urodol, Urogesic, Viridium): A medicine used to relieve symptoms of UTIs, including burning, itching or pain. However, it will not cure a UTI (it is not an antibiotic). It is available in tablets. It is also now available over the counter as AZO.

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