A person with cholangitis requires admission to the hospital for intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Those with severe cholangitis may require endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) or surgery to relieve a bile duct obstruction. During ERCP, a flexible scope is passed through the mouth and into the small intestine, in order to view the bile duct from the intestine. The doctor uses a small balloon on the end of the endoscope to open the blocked duct.
Treatment for cholangitis may include:
- Intravenous fluids
- Antibiotics for cholangitis:
- Ampicillin (Omnipen, Marcillin)
- Metronidazole (Flagyl)
- Gentamicin (Gentacidin, Garamycin)
- Cefoxitin (Mefoxin)
- Piperacillin and tazobactam (Zosyn)
- Cefotaxime (Claforan)
- Clindamycin (Cleocin)
- Mezlocillin (Mezlin)
- Imipenem and cilastatin (Primaxin)
- Meropenem (Merrem)
- Ticarcillin and clavulanate potassium (Timentin)
- Ampicillin and sulbactam (Unasyn)
- Narcotic pain medication:
- For moderate to severe pain
- For short term use only
- ERCP for cholangitis
- Surgery for cholangitis:
- To relieve the obstructed bile duct
Cholangitis Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of cholangitis.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- Is surgery an option for me?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Do I need to change my diet?
- Do I need to lose weight?
- Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for having this problem again?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat cholangitis:
Continue to Cholangitis Warning Signs
- Bergquist A, Broome U. Clinical features in primary sclerosing cholangitis. Clin Liver Dis. 1998 May;2(2):283-301, viii. 
- Gossard AA, Angulo P, Lindor KD. Secondary sclerosing cholangitis: a comparison to primary sclerosing cholangitis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Jun;100(6):1330-3. 
- Pall H, Jonas MM. Pediatric hepatobiliary disease. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2005 May;21(3):344-7.