June 24, 2022

A cause and a remedy

Pancreatitis is a condition that develops when your pancreas becomes inflamed or irritated. It can develop quickly and suddenly (acute) or slowly over time (chronic).

In either case, antibiotics may be part of the treatment or part of the problem. This article explores each of these scenarios.

Pancreatitis has several possible causes. One of them is infection. Injuries, recent surgeries, or trauma can all contribute to pancreatic infections. Depending on the cause and extent of the infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help your body eliminate the bacteria and defeat the infection.

Antibiotics are used in the treatment of severe acute pancreatitis, but they are not anymore routinely offered as a preventive (prophylactic) treatment for less severe cases of pancreatitis.

Several antibiotics can be used in the treatment of acute pancreatitis, but the type used depends on a few things. Pancreatitis can be complicated when:

  • other organ systems are involved
  • sepsis develops
  • tissue death (necrosis) is observed

Here are some examples of antibiotics that might be prescribed for pancreatitis:

Side effects to be aware of

Antibiotics are very effective in treating bacterial infections, but they are not perfect medicines. There are limits to what antibiotics can do, and many of them can cause different types of side effects.

Some of the more common side effects of antibiotics used to treat pancreatitis include things like:

Certain medications can actually lead to the development of pancreatitis, including certain types of antibiotics. Some of the antibiotics that have been linked to pancreatitis to understand:

Other types of drugs that are also known to cause or contribute to pancreatitis include:

  • anti-diabetic drugs
  • antihypertensive drugs
  • HIV drugs
  • certain cancer treatments

The pancreas is an organ in your abdomen that produces enzymes to help digest your food. Certain conditions, lifestyle choices, and even medications can cause inflammation of the pancreas. This inflammation can be acute or chronic, but it usually requires some level of medical attention to overcome.

In many cases, antibiotics are prescribed to treat pancreatitis even though these drugs are among those that can cause this condition. Talk to a doctor if you experience sharp or sudden abdominal pain, or if you have other reasons to suspect you might have pancreatitis.