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Prostatitis Medication

  • Author: Paul J Turek, MD; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
Updated: Feb 11, 2016

Medication Summary

The different prostatitis categories are treated with various medical therapies, depending on the underlying pathology. Antibiotic therapy is essential in the treatment of acute bacterial prostatitis. If the patient is having systemic symptoms, then admission is warranted for intravenous antibiotics, hydration, and analgesia.

Therapy for chronic bacterial prostatitis varies with the type and duration of antibiotics used. Treatment typically consists of 4-8 weeks of prostate-penetrating antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolone or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.

Chronic prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis may be treated with alpha-blocking agents or diazepam with sitz baths.



Class Summary

Empiric antibiotics should be tailored toward treating gram-negative pathogens. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), where Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis are the primary suspected pathogens, must also be considered, especially in patients younger than 35 years.

Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated treatment guidelines for gonococcal infection recommend single-dose IM ceftriaxone, plus single-dose oral azithromycin or 7 days of oral doxycycline.[22] Cotreatment offers the benefits of hindering the development of antimicrobial resistant gonococci and providing coverage against C trachomatis infection, which often accompanies gonococcal infection. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are no longer recommended to treat gonorrhea in the United States.

For the treatment of chronic bacterial prostatitis, where Enterobacteriaceae, enterococci, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are common pathogens, consider trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim) or fluoroquinolones for 28 days or more as empiric agents.

For nonbacterial prostatitis caused by Chlamydia and Ureaplasma species, which are difficult to culture, an empiric trial of doxycycline or erythromycin should be instituted.

Levofloxacin (Levaquin)


This fluoroquinolone is indicated to treat acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis due to Escherichia coli, E faecalis, or Staphylococcus epidermidis. It has good concentration in the prostate. This is the L stereoisomer of the D/L parent compound ofloxacin, the D form being inactive. It provides good monotherapy with extended coverage against Pseudomonas species, as well as excellent activity against pneumococcus. Levofloxacin acts by inhibition of DNA gyrase activity.



Ofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone that is a pyridine carboxylic acid derivative with a broad-spectrum bactericidal effect.

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro, Cipro XR, Proquin XR)


This agent is a fluoroquinolone that inhibits bacterial DNA synthesis and, consequently, growth, by inhibiting DNA gyrase and topoisomerases, which are required for replication, transcription, and translation of genetic material. Quinolones have broad activity against gram-positive and gram-negative aerobic organisms. Ciprofloxacin has no activity against anaerobes. Continue treatment for at least 2 days (7-14 d typical) after signs and symptoms have disappeared.

Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Bactrim DS, Septra DS)


Trimethoprim inhibits bacterial growth by inhibiting synthesis of dihydrofolic acid. The antibacterial activity of TMP-SMZ includes common urinary tract pathogens, except P aeruginosa.

Ceftriaxone (Rocephin)


A third-generation cephalosporin with broad-spectrum, gram-negative activity, ceftriaxone has lower efficacy against gram-positive organisms; higher efficacy against resistant organisms. Its bactericidal activity results from inhibiting cell wall synthesis by binding to one or more penicillin-binding proteins.

This agent exerts its antimicrobial effect by interfering with synthesis of peptidoglycan, a major structural component of bacterial cell wall. Bacteria eventually lyse due to the ongoing activity of cell wall autolytic enzymes while cell wall assembly is arrested.

Ceftriaxone is highly stable in presence of beta-lactamases, both penicillinase and cephalosporinase, of gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Approximately 33-67% of the dose excreted unchanged in urine, and remainder is secreted in bile and ultimately in feces as microbiologically inactive compounds. Ceftriaxone reversibly binds to human plasma proteins, and binding has been reported to decrease from 95% bound at plasma concentrations of less than 25 mcg/mL to 85% bound at 300 mcg/mL.

Doxycycline (Adoxa, Monodox, Doryx, Vibramycin)


Doxycycline inhibits protein synthesis and, thus, bacterial growth by binding to 30S and possibly 50S ribosomal subunits of susceptible bacteria. It may block dissociation of peptidyl tRNA from ribosomes, causing RNA-dependent protein synthesis to arrest.

Doxycycline is used to treat nonbacterial prostatitis caused by Chlamydia species. Chlamydia and Ureaplasma are difficult to culture; therefore, an empiric trial of doxycycline should be instituted.


Alpha-adrenergic antagonists

Class Summary

These agents are used in the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy. Studies suggest that combining alpha-blockers with antibiotics may reduce the risk of prostatitis recurrence in chronic prostatitis. Alpha-blockers reduce bladder outlet obstruction and thus improve voiding dysfunction that may be associated with prostatic swelling with prostatitis. Alpha-blockers may also have role to improve symptoms in chronic pelvic pain syndrome.



Quinazoline compound that counteracts alpha1-induced adrenergic contractions of bladder neck, terazosin facilitates urinary flow in the presence of prostate inflammation.

Tamsulosin (Flomax)


An alpha-adrenergic blocker, specifically targeting the A1 receptors, tamsulosin has the advantage of causing relatively less orthostatic hypotension, and it requires no gradual up-titration from the initial introductory dosage. On the other hand, a higher incidence of ejaculatory dysfunction exists with this medication (8.4-18.1%).

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Paul J Turek, MD Director, The Turek Clinic; Former Professor- in-Residence, Academy of Medical Educators Endowed Chair, Department of Urology, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine

Paul J Turek, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Surgeons, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, American Society of Andrology, American Urological Association, Western Section of the American Urological Association, American Association of Clinical Urologists, Society for the Study of Male Reproduction, Society for Male Reproduction and Urology

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Cellarity Biotechnologies, Inc; MandalMed, Inc; Healthloop,Inc:;; Essential Beginnings Inc<br/>Received ownership interest from BioQuiddity, Inc for board membership; Received ownership interest from for board membership; Received intellectual property rights from MandalMed, Inc for management position; Received ownership interest from for board membership; Received ownership interest from Episona, inc for board membership.


Tarlan Hedayati, MD Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Rush Medical College, John H Stroger Hospital of Cook County

Tarlan Hedayati, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American College of Emergency Physicians, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Christine R Stehman, MD Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Eddy S Lang, MDCM, CCFP(EM), CSPQ Associate Professor, Senior Researcher, Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine; Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine, McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Canada

Eddy S Lang, MDCM, CCFP(EM), CSPQ is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, University of South Carolina School of Medicine; Attending Physician, Clinical Instructor, Compliance Officer, Department of Emergency Medicine, Palmetto Richland Hospital

Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, South Carolina Medical Association, Columbia Medical Society, South Carolina College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Medical Association, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Chief Editor for Medscape.

Additional Contributors

David S Howes, MD Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Residency Program Director Emeritus, Section of Emergency Medicine, University of Chicago, University of Chicago, The Pritzker School of Medicine

David S Howes, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American College of Emergency Physicians, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Bacterial prostatitis. Expressed prostatic fluid contains more than 10 white blood cells per high-power field, indicating prostatitis.
A nonspecific mixed inflammatory infiltrate that consists of lymphocytes, plasma cells, and histiocytes is typical in chronic bacterial prostatitis.
Urine culture with greater than 100,000 colony-forming units (CFU) of Escherichia coli, the most common pathogen in acute and chronic prostatitis. Chronic bacterial prostatitis must be confirmed and diagnosed using a urine culture.
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