Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms cutaneous anthrax inhalational anthrax intestinal anthrax Evaluation Treatment drugs Warning Signs Prevention vaccine Outlook Underlying Cause types Transmission

Anthrax Treatment

The treatment for anthrax depends on which organs become infected. Skin infections can be treated with oral antibiotics, while lung, brain and blood infections require admission to the hospital and treatment with intravenous antibiotics. Antibiotics can cure anthrax infections if they are started early after the infection occurs. Later in the disease, the toxins produced by the anthrax bacteria can overwhelm the body, even though the antibiotics are effective at killing the bacteria. Treatment with antibiotics may be required for 2 weeks. A person who is exposed to anthrax requires medication to prevent anthrax for 2 months.

Antibiotics for anthrax infection include:

The US government stores large quantities of antibiotics in case many people are exposed to anthrax. Severe lung or intestinal infections require treatment in the hospital.

Anthrax is not contagious: a person with anthrax does not need to be in quarantine.

Anthrax Drugs

The Centers for Disease Control in the US recommends treatment with two antibiotics:

These medications are initially given through an intravenous line in the hospital.

Additional antibiotics may include:

Most mild, cutaneous cases of anthrax will respond to oral doses of penicillin or doxycycline. Cipro is recommended by the CDC as the best drug for cutaneous anthrax, but may not be necessary in all cases.

Continue to Anthrax Warning Signs

Last Updated: Jun 3, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Anthrax References
  1. Cuneo BM. Inhalational anthrax. Respir Care Clin N Am. 2004 Mar;10(1):75-82. [15062228]
  2. Kalamas AG. Anthrax. Anesthesiol Clin North America. 2004 Sep;22(3):533-40, vii. [15325717]
  3. Reissman DB, Whitney EA, Taylor TH Jr, Hayslett JA, Dull PM, Arias I, Ashford DA, Bresnitz EA, Tan C, Rosenstein N, Perkins BA. One-year health assessment of adult survivors of Bacillus anthracis infection. JAMA. 2004 Apr 28;291(16):1994-8. [15113818]
  4. Wenner KA, Kenner JR. Anthrax. Dermatol Clin. 2004 Jul;22(3):247-56, v. [15207306]
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