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Clarithromycin: Uses, side effects, interaction, precautions

Clarithromycin: Uses, side effects, interaction, precautions

GENERIC NAME: Clarithromycin
BRAND NAME(S): Biaxin, Biaxin XL
DRUG CLASS: Macrolide Antibiotics

Clarithromycin is an antibiotic that is commonly used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections. It belongs to a group of antibiotics called macrolides and is usually prescribed when other antibiotics, such as penicillin, are not suitable.

While clarithromycin can be an effective treatment for bacterial infections, it is important to be aware of its potential side effects, interactions with other drugs, and precautions to take when using it. This blog post will provide an overview of the uses, side effects, interactions, and precautions associated with clarithromycin.

What is clarithromycin?

Clarithromycin is a type of antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections. It belongs to a group of medicines known as macrolide antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.

Clarithromycin is used to treat various types of bacterial infections such as sinusitis, pneumonia, tonsillitis, bronchitis, skin infections, ear infections and urinary tract infections.

It can also be used to prevent certain bacterial infections in people with weakened immune systems. Clarithromycin can be taken orally as a tablet, liquid, or an injection.

What are the uses of clarithromycin?

Clarithromycin medication can be used to treat a wide range of conditions including bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections, ear infections, and skin infections. Additionally, it is also prescribed to treat stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori infection.

When taking this medication, it is important to take the entire course of the prescription even if you begin to feel better. Stopping or missing doses may make the infection worse or increase the chance of developing resistance to the medication.

Clarithromycin may also be prescribed in combination with other medications to treat certain conditions. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any other medications you are taking before starting clarithromycin.

What are the side effects of clarithromycin?

The most common side effects of clarithromycin include:

  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • diarrhea;
  • constipation;
  • abdominal pain;
  • rash; and
  • headache.

In some rare cases, patients may also experience an increase in liver enzymes, a decrease in blood pressure, and tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.

Less common side effects of clarithromycin include:

  • dizziness;
  • sleepiness;
  • difficulty sleeping;
  • fatigue;
  • anxiety;
  • depression;
  • loss of appetite;
  • upset stomach;
  • increased heart rate; and
  • confusion.

Severe side effects include:

  • severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis);
  • joint pain;
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes;
  • darkened urine; and
  • loss of consciousness.

If you experience any of these side effects while taking clarithromycin, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Additionally, if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat seek immediate medical attention.

What is the interaction of clarithromycin with other drugs?

Clarithromycin has the potential to interact with other drugs. This can lead to unwanted side effects or make the drug less effective.

It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist about all of the medications you are taking, including prescription, over-the-counter, herbal supplements, and vitamins.

Clarithromycin may interact with certain antibiotics, antifungals, antidepressants, heart rhythm medications, and others. For example, it may interact with erythromycin, fluconazole, fluoxetine, quinidine, and more.

In addition, taking clarithromycin with certain antacids such as magnesium hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide can decrease the amount of clarithromycin that is absorbed into your body. Therefore, it is important to take these medications at least two hours before or after you take clarithromycin.

Finally, you should not drink alcohol while taking clarithromycin due to an increased risk of liver damage.

It is also important to note that some foods may interact with clarithromycin, so it is best to speak to your doctor about what you can and cannot eat while taking this medication.

What are the precautions when taking clarithromycin?

When taking clarithromycin, it is important to be aware of the possible side effects and interactions that can occur.

It is important to let your doctor know if you have any other health conditions before taking this medication, such as:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease; or
  • myasthenia gravis.

It is also important to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking clarithromycin.

It is also important to inform your doctor of any other medications you are taking before taking clarithromycin, as some drugs may interact with the antibiotic. These include antacids, digoxin, blood thinners, cholesterol-lowering medications, cyclosporine, antifungals, and certain cancer medications.

If you experience any unusual side effects while taking clarithromycin, such as abdominal pain or difficulty breathing, contact your doctor right away.

When taking clarithromycin, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions closely and take the medication exactly as prescribed. Do not stop taking the medication without first speaking to your doctor.

Also, it is important to drink plenty of fluids while taking clarithromycin to prevent dehydration.

Finally, it is important to make sure you complete the full course of treatment prescribed by your doctor even if you start feeling better before the end of your treatment.


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