Types of Diverticulitis Medications

Diverticulitis is either uncomplicated or complicated. In cases of uncomplicated diverticulitis, it may go away within a week without treatment. If it progresses or worsens, medication becomes necessary to address the symptoms and treat the condition.

The class of medication that treats more severe cases of diverticulitis is antibiotics. In many cases, this will require the use of combination antibiotics. The two most common regimens are metronidazole with fluoroquinolone or amoxicillin-clavulanate.

Other possible antibiotics include:

  • Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole DS
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Piperacillin/tazobactam

This article discusses possible treatment options for people with varying severities of diverticulitis.

Nurse organizing medicine

Sergey Mironov / Getty Images

Types of Diverticulitis Medication 

Medication isn’t necessary for all cases of diverticulitis, but there are several that can help heal the condition and provide symptom relief.

Without Infection 

If a person has uncomplicated diverticulitis (in which they haven't developed complications), they may not need any medication. In roughly 95% of people with this type of diverticulitis, it clears up within seven days. The other 5% will need medical intervention. Antibiotics may cause harm if used inappropriately, so they are reserved for treating infection cases.

Typically, oral antibiotics are reserved for those who have underlying health complications that can increase the risk of complications, such as: 

The Wait-and-See Method for Uncomplicated Diverticulitis

People with the condition are advised to practice the wait-and-see method and see their medical provider regularly. This is to ensure that they do not develop complications and that their medical provider can monitor inflammation.

With Infection: Antibiotics

When an infection develops, antibiotics will be necessary to treat diverticulitis. This type of condition is often called complicated diverticulitis and can require a stay in the hospital for treatment, though mild cases may resolve with oral antibiotics at home. There are three antibiotic administration methods for treating cases of complicated diverticulitis:

  • Suspension (liquid form)
  • Tablets
  • Infusions (given through a needle and drip directly into the bloodstream)

The most commonly taken antibiotics for this are Flagyl (metronidazole) with fluoroquinolone or amoxicillin-clavulanate. Metronidazole and fluoroquinolones are combination drugs that combine two effective antibiotics into one medicine to help with diverticulitis infections and complications.

More Antibiotics for Diverticulitis

In some cases, people will need to take other antibiotics besides the two most common regimens. Other possible antibiotics and antibiotic combinations for diverticulitis include:

  • Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole DS
  • Cipro (ciprofloxacin)
  • Levaquin (levofloxacin)
  • Piperacillin/tazobactam
  • Invanz (ertapenem)
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Primaxin (imipenem/cilastatin)
  • Merrem (meropenem)
  • Doribax (doripenem)
  • Tygacil (tigecycline)

Symptom Management

Medications can also help manage symptoms, most notably pain. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is recommended for pain management.

Antispasmodics reduce spasms in the large intestines that can contribute to pain. Acetaminophen blocks the communication pathways that send pain signals to the brain.

Side Effect of Antibiotics for Diverticulitis

Antibiotics are generally considered safe, but they do come with some possible side effects, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach
  • Cramps
  • Appetite loss
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Irritation in the mouth or tongue
  • Skin rash

Treatments to Avoid With Diverticulitis 

Some medications that can treat pain or inflammation should not be taken by someone with diverticulitis. They include:


Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help with both pain and inflammation. Because diverticulitis can present with both, many people may reach for NSAIDs to heal from the condition.

However, NSAIDs can increase the risk of diverticulitis complications. The drugs have been associated with an increased risk of perforations, which are cuts, holes, or tears in the colon wall. These are serious and can become life-threatening. Diverticular bleeding can also occur as a result of NSAID use.

NSAIDs and Diverticulitis Risk

Studies have shown that people who take NSAIDs regularly are also more likely to develop diverticulitis in addition to an increased risk for a complicated case of the condition.


Corticosteroids can treat a wide range of inflammatory conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease because they can lower inflammation. However, people with diverticulitis should not take them because they can increase the risk of colon perforation.


Opioids are pain relievers that reduce the brain's feelings of pain while increasing feelings of pleasure. They are rarely prescribed and are reserved for only the most severe cases because they are highly addictive.

People with diverticulitis should avoid opioids because they are associated with an increased risk of complications, such as diverticular bleeding and perforation.  

Additional Treatment of Diverticulitis Besides Medication 

For acute (short-term) cases of uncomplicated diverticulitis, at-home remedies may help to manage symptoms until the intestines heal.

Home Remedies

Diet and lifestyle changes are at the forefront of home remedies for diverticulitis. They include:

  • Eating anti-inflammatory foods to help lower inflammation
  • Reducing how much alcohol you drink
  • Avoiding foods that are high in fat
  • Avoiding red meat
  • Quitting smoking

When to Contact Your Healthcare Provider

If you experience any symptoms of diverticulitis, you should see your healthcare provider. They will help determine your specific case's severity and whether you need medication.


The most common medications for treating diverticulitis are antibiotics. That said, not all people with the condition will need to take medication at all. In cases of uncomplicated diverticulitis, people may be able to recover at home without antibiotics or any other prescriptions. During that time, they can take medications to help with pain, such as acetaminophen and antispasmodics.

In cases of complicated diverticulitis, medication is necessary to treat infection or complications. Antibiotics are still the drug of choice, but people take them in tablet or suspension form or directly into the bloodstream through an IV. In more severe cases, people must stay at the hospital during treatment.

Medications that can increase the risk of complications in people with diverticulitis include NSAIDs, opioids, and corticosteroids. These should be avoided. To help the body heal better, people can adopt healthy lifestyle changes by eating more fiber and anti-inflammatory foods and reducing their intake of red meat, alcohol, and high-fat foods.

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. InformedHealth.org. Diverticular disease and diverticulitis: treating acute diverticulitis.

  2. Gaber CE, Kinlaw AC, Edwards JK, et al. Comparative effectiveness and harms of antibiotics for outpatient diverticulitis: two nationwide cohort studies. Ann Intern Med. 2021 Jun;174(6):737-746. doi:10.7326/M20-6315

  3. Wilkins T, Embry K, George R. Diagnosis and management of acute diverticulitis. Am Fam Physician. 2013 May 1;87(9):612-20.

  4. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Treatment for diverticular disease.

  5. MedlinePlus. Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid.

  6. MedlinePlus. Metronidazole.

  7. MedlinePlus. Moxifloxacin.

  8. Böhm SK. Risk factors for diverticulosis, diverticulitis, diverticular perforation, and bleeding: a plea for more subtle history taking. Viszeralmedizin. 2015 Apr;31(2):84-94. doi:10.1159/000381867

By Angelica Bottaro
Angelica Bottaro is a professional freelance writer with over 5 years of experience. She has been educated in both psychology and journalism, and her dual education has given her the research and writing skills needed to deliver sound and engaging content in the health space.