Types of pneumonia medicine for bacterial pneumonia primarily include a variety of antibiotics. The trade names for these antibiotics include Augmentin™, Zithromax™, Biaxin™, Bactrim™, and Levaquin™, among others. In rare cases, antiviral medication could be used to treat certain types of viral pneumonia.
Pneumonia is a lung infection affecting one or both lungs. Pneumonia can be contracted by aspirating air particles or oral secretions containing certain organisms, particularly when the individual's immune system is in a weakened state. In adults, pneumonia is most commonly caused by a bacterial organism called Streptococcus pneumoniae, whereas infants or small children are more likely to contract viral pneumonia. Before the advent of antibiotic treatment, approximately one third of pneumonia patients died from the infection. Currently, about 95 percent of individuals in the United States are successfully treated for pneumonia, with about 50 percent requiring hospitalization.
In the case of bacterial pneumonia, medical treatment primarily involves the use of antibiotics. The type of antibiotic prescribed will depend on the patient's overall health status and the severity of the infection. The initial attempt at antibiotic treatment typically involves broad-spectrum antibiotics. General categories of antibiotics include macrolides, tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, penicillins, and vancomycin. The use of pneumonia medicine for bacterial cases usually results in improvement within several days.
The macrolide antibiotics include azithromycin (trade name Zithromax™ or Zmax™), erythromycin, and clarithromycin (trade name Biaxin™). Levofloxacin (trade name Levaquin™), gemifloxacin, and moxifloxacin (trade name Avelox™) are categorized as fluoroquinolones. The cephalosporins include cefepime, cefotaxime, and ceftriaxone, while the penicillins typically refer to amoxicillin and ampicillin. Vancomycin is also sometimes used as a pneumonia medicine. Doxycycline is one of the tetracyclines. Another option is the use of sulfamethoxazole or trimethoprim (trade name Bactrim™ or Septra™).
When pneumonia is caused by an influenza virus, no pneumonia medicine is available for effective treatment. Infection with varicella pneumonia, which is rare, is generally treated with antiviral medications. A small percentage of pneumonia cases in the United States are caused by fungal infections, such as aspergillosis, coccidiomycosis, histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, or blastomycosis. These can be treated with certain types of antibiotic pneumonia medicine, including fluconazole (trade name Diflucan), penicillin, amphotericin B, and sulfonamides.