Side effects of clarithromycin

Contents

Clarithromycin

Generic Name: clarithromycin (kla RITH roe MYE sin)
Brand Names: Biaxin, Biaxin XL

Medically reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD Last updated on Nov 4, 2019.

  • Overview
  • Side Effects
  • Dosage
  • Professional
  • Interactions
  • More

What is clarithromycin?

Clarithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic that fights bacteria in your body.

Clarithromycin is used to treat many different types of bacterial infections affecting the skin and respiratory system.

Clarithromycin is also used together with other medicines to treat stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori.

Important Information

Take clarithromycin for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. This medicine will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to clarithromycin or similar antibiotics, if you have ever had jaundice or liver problems caused by taking this medicine, or if you have liver or kidney disease and are also taking colchicine.

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using. Many drugs can interact with clarithromycin, and some drugs should not be used together.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to clarithromycin or similar medicines such as azithromycin (Zithromax, Z-Pak, Zmax), erythromycin, or telithromycin, or if:

  • you have had jaundice or liver problems caused by taking clarithromycin; or

  • you have liver or kidney disease and you also take a medicine called colchicine.

Some medicines can cause unwanted or dangerous effects when used with clarithromycin. Your doctor may need to change your treatment plan if you use any of the following drugs:

  • cisapride;

  • pimozide;

  • lomitapide

  • lovastatin or simvastatin; or

  • ergotamine or dihydroergotamine.

To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • heart problems;

  • long QT syndrome (in you or a family member);

  • coronary artery disease (clogged arteries);

  • myasthenia gravis;

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease;

  • diabetes; or

  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood).

Clarithromycin may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

In animal studies, clarithromycin caused birth defects. However, it is not known whether these effects would occur in humans. Ask your doctor about your risk.

Clarithromycin can pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.

This medicine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 6 months old.

How should I take clarithromycin?

Take clarithromycin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Do not use this medicine to treat any condition that has not been checked by your doctor. Do not share this medicine with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.

You may take the regular tablets and oral suspension (liquid) with or without food.

Clarithromycin extended-release tablets (Biaxin XL) should be taken with food.

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.

Shake the oral liquid well just before you measure a dose. Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Clarithromycin is usually given for 7 to 14 days. Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time, even if your symptoms quickly improve. Skipping doses can increase your risk of infection that is resistant to medication. Clarithromycin will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.

Store this medicine in the original container at room temperature, away from moisture, heat, and light.

Do not keep the oral liquid in a refrigerator. Throw away any liquid that has not been used within 14 days.

If your infection is treated with a combination of drugs, use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor’s advice.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

What should I avoid while taking clarithromycin?

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Clarithromycin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to clarithromycin: (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning in your eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling).

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;

  • fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness (like you might pass out);

  • confusion, spinning sensation;

  • liver problems – loss of appetite, upper stomach pain, tiredness, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

  • kidney problems – little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath.

If you’ve ever had heart problems, clarithromycin may cause a heart attack or stroke years after you’ve taken this medicine. Seek medical attention right away if you have chest pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, trouble breathing, slurred speech, or sudden numbness or weakness on one side of your body.

Older adults may be more likely to have heart rhythm side effects, including a life-threatening fast heart rate.

Common clarithromycin side effects may include:

  • stomach pain, nausea, vomiting;

  • diarrhea; or

  • unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect clarithromycin?

When you start or stop taking clarithromycin, your doctor may need to adjust the doses of any other medicines you take on a regular basis.

Clarithromycin can cause a serious heart problem, especially if you use certain medicines at the same time, such as antibiotics, antifungal medicine, antidepressants, anti-malaria medicine, asthma inhalers, antipsychotic medicine, cancer medicine, certain HIV/AIDS medicine, heart or blood pressure medicine, or medicine to prevent vomiting.

Many drugs can interact with clarithromycin, and some drugs should not be used together. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use clarithromycin only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2020 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 21.01.

Related questions

  • Can I drink alcohol while taking clarithromycin?
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More about clarithromycin

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  • Drug class: macrolides
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Consumer resources

  • Clarithromycin Extended-Release Tablets
  • Clarithromycin Tablets
  • Clarithromycin Oral Suspension
  • Clarithromycin (Advanced Reading)

Other brands: Biaxin, Biaxin XL

Professional resources

  • Clarithromycin (AHFS Monograph)
  • … +4 more

Related treatment guides

  • Bronchitis
  • Follicular Lymphoma
  • Bacterial Endocarditis Prevention
  • Dental Abscess
  • … +18 more

Clarithromycin 500 mg film-coated tablets

The use of the following drugs is strictly contraindicated due to the potential for severe drug interaction effects:

Cisapride, pimozide, astemizole and terfenadine

Elevated cisapride levels have been reported in patients receiving clarithromycin and cisapride concomitantly. This may result in QT prolongation and cardiac arrhythmias including ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and torsades de pointes. Similar effects have been observed in patients taking clarithromycin and pimozide concomitantly (see section 4.3).

Macrolides have been reported to alter the metabolism of terfenadine resulting in increased levels of terfenadine which has occasionally been associated with cardiac arrhythmias such as QT prolongation, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and torsades de pointes (see section 4.3). In one study in 14 healthy volunteers, the concomitant administration of clarithromycin and terfenadine resulted in a two to three fold increase in the serum level of the acid metabolite of terfenadine and in prolongation of the QT interval which did not lead to any clinically detectable effect. Similar effects have been observed with concomitant administration of astemizole and other macrolides.

Ergotamine/dihydroergotamine

Postmarketing reports indicate that co-administration of clarithromycin with ergotamine or dihydroergotamine has been associated with acute ergot toxicity characterized by vasospasm, and ischemia of the extremities and other tissues including the central nervous system. Concomitant administration of clarithromycin and these medicinal products is contraindicated (see section 4.3).

HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (statins)

Concomitant use of clarithromycin with lovastatin or simvastatin is contraindicated (see 4.3) as these statins are extensively metabolized by CYP3A4 and concomitant treatment with clarithromycin increases their plasma concentration, which increases the risk of myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis. Reports of rhabdomyolysis have been received for patients taking clarithromycin concomitantly with these statins. If treatment with clarithromycin cannot be avoided, therapy with lovastatin or simvastatin must be suspended during the course of treatment.

Caution should be exercised when prescribing clarithromycin with statins. In situations where the concomitant use of clarithromycin with statins cannot be avoided, it is recommended to prescribe the lowest registered dose of the statin.Use of a statin that is not dependent on CYP3A metabolism (e.g.fluvastatin) can be considered. Patients should be monitored for signs and symptoms of myopathy.

Effects of other medicinal products on clarithromycin

Drugs that are inducers of CYP3A (e.g. rifampicin, phenytoin, carabamazepin, phenobarbital, St. Johns wort) may induce the metabolism of clarithromycin. This may result in sub-therapeutic levels of clarithromycin leading to a reduced efficacy. Furthermore it might be necessary to monitor the plasma levels of the CYP3A inducer, which could be increased owing to the inhibition of CYP3A by clarithromycin (see also the relevant product information for the CYP3A4 inhibitor administered). Concomitant administration of rifabutin and clarithromycin resulted in an increase in rifabutin, and decrease in clarithromycin serum levels together with an increased risk of uveitis.

The following drugs are known or suspected to affect circulating concentrations of clarithromycin; clarithromycin dosage adjustment or consideration of alternative treatments may be required.

Efavirenz, nevirapine, rifampicin, rifabutin and rifapentine

Strong inducers of the cytochrome P450 metabolism system such as efavirenz, nevirapine, rifampicin, rifabutin, and rifapentine may accelerate the metabolism of clarithromycin and thus lower the plasma levels of clarithromycin, while increasing those of 14-OH-clarithromycin, a metabolite that is also microbiologically active. Since the microbiological activities of clarithromycin and 14-OH-clarithromycin are different for different bacteria, the intended therapeutic effect could be impaired during concomitant administration of clarithromycin and enzyme inducers.

Etravirine

Clarithromycin exposure was decreased by etravirine; however, concentrations of the active metabolite, 14-OH-clarithromycin, were increased. Because 14-OH-clarithromycin has reduced activity against Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), overall activity against this pathogen may be altered; therefore alternatives to clarithromycin should be considered for the treatment of MAC.

Fluconazole

Concomitant administration of fluconazole 200 mg daily and clarithromycin 500 mg twice daily to 21 healthy volunteers led to increases in the mean steady-state minimum clarithromycin concentration (Cmin) and area under the curve (AUC) of 33% and 18% respectively. Steady state concentrations of the active metabolite 14-OH-clarithromycin were not significantly affected by concomitant administration of fluconazole. No clarithromycin dose adjustment is necessary.

Ritonavir

A pharmacokinetic study demonstrated that the concomitant administration of ritonavir 200 mg every eight hours and clarithromycin 500 mg every 12 hours resulted in a marked inhibition of the metabolism of clarithromycin. The clarithromycin Cmax increased by 31%, Cmin increased 182% and AUC increased by 77% with concomitant administration of ritonavir. An essentially complete inhibition of the formation of 14-OH-clarithromycin was noted. Because of the large therapeutic window for clarithromycin, no dosage reduction should be necessary in patients with normal renal function. However, for patients with renal impairment, the following dosage adjustments should be considered: For patients with CLCR 30 to 60 mL/min the dose of clarithromycin should be reduced by 50%. For patients with CLCR <30 mL/min the dose of clarithromycin should be decreased by 75%. Doses of clarithromycin greater than 1 g/day should not be coadministered with ritonavir.

Similar dose adjustments should be considered in patients with reduced renal function when ritonavir is used as a pharmacokinetic enhancer with other HIV protease inhibitors including atazanavir and saquinavir (see section below, Bi-directional drug interactions).

Effect of clarithromycin on other medicinal products

CYP3A-based interactions

Co-administration of clarithromycin, known to inhibit CYP3A, and a drug primarily metabolized by CYP3A may be associated with elevations in drug concentrations that could increase or prolong both therapeutic and adverse effects of the concomitant drug. Clarithromycin should be used with caution in patients receiving treatment with other drugs known to be CYP3A enzyme substrates, especially if the CYP3A substrate has a narrow safety margin (e.g. carbamazepine) and/or the substrate is extensively metabolized by this enzyme.

Dosage adjustments may be considered, and when possible, serum concentrations of drugs primarily metabolized by CYP3A should be monitored closely in patients concurrently receiving clarithromycin.

The following drugs or drug classes are known or suspected to be metabolized by the same CYP3A isozyme: alprazolam, astemizole, carbamazepine, cilostazol, cisapride, cyclosporine, disopyramide, ergot alkaloids, lovastatin, methylprednisolone, midazolam, omeprazole, oral anticoagulants (e.g. warfarin), atypical antipsychotics (e.g. quetiapine), pimozide, quinidine, rifabutin, sildenafil, simvastatin, sirolimus, tacrolimus, terfenadine, triazolam and vinblastine but this list is not comprehensive. Drugs interacting by similar mechanisms through other isozymes within the cytochrome P450 system include phenytoin, theophylline and valproate.

Antiarrhythmics

There have been postmarketing reports of torsades de pointes occurring with concurrent use of clarithromycin and quinidine or disopyramide. Electrocardiograms should be monitored for QT prolongation during co-administration of clarithromycin with these drugs. Serum levels of quinidine and disopyramide should be monitored during clarithromycin therapy.

There have been post marketing reports of hypoglycemia with the concomitant administration of clarithromycin and disopyramide. Therefore blood glucose levels should be monitored during concomitant administration of clarithromycin and disopyramide.

Oral hypoglycemic agents/Insulin

With certain hypoglycemic drugs such as nateglinide, and repaglinide, inhibition of CYP3A enzyme by clarithromycin may be involved and could cause hypolgycemia when used concomitantly. Careful monitoring of glucose is recommended.

Omeprazole

Clarithromycin (500 mg every 8 hours) was given in combination with omeprazole (40 mg daily) to healthy adult subjects. The steady-state plasma concentrations of omeprazole were increased (Cmax, AUC0-24, and t1/2 increased by 30%, 89%, and 34%, respectively), by the concomitant administration of clarithromycin. The mean 24-hour gastric pH value was 5.2 when omeprazole was administered alone and 5.7 when omeprazole was co-administered with clarithromycin.

Sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil

Each of these phosphodiesterase inhibitors is metabolized, at least in part, by CYP3A, and CYP3A may be inhibited by concomitantly administered clarithromycin. Co-administration of clarithromycin with sildenafil, tadalafil or vardenafil would likely result in increased phosphodiesterase inhibitor exposure. Reduction of sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil dosages should be considered when these drugs are co-administered with clarithromycin.

Theophylline, carbamazepine

Results of clinical studies indicate there was a modest but statistically significant (p≤0.05) increase of circulating theophylline or carbamazepine levels when either of these drugs were administered concomitantly with clarithromycin. Dose reduction may need to be considered.

Tolterodine

The primary route of metabolism for tolterodine is via the 2D6 isoform of cytochrome P450 (CYP2D6). However, in a subset of the population devoid of CYP2D6, the identified pathway of metabolism is via CYP3A. In this population subset, inhibition of CYP3A results in significantly higher serum concentrations of tolterodine. A reduction in tolterodine dosage may be necessary in the presence of CYP3A inhibitors, such as clarithromycin in the CYP2D6 poor metabolizer population.

Triazolobenzodiazepines (e.g. alprazolam, midazolam, triazolam)

When midazolam was co-administered with clarithromycin tablets (500 mg twice daily), midazolam AUC was increased 2.7-fold after intravenous administration of midazolam and 7-fold after oral administration. Concomitant administration of oral midazolam and clarithromycin should be avoided. If intravenous midazolam is co-administered with clarithromycin, the patient must be closely monitored to allow dose adjustment. The same precautions should also apply to other benzodiazepines that are metabolized by CYP3A, including triazolam and alprazolam.

For benzodiazepines which are not dependent on CYP3A for their elimination (temazepam, nitrazepam, lorazepam), a clinically important interaction with clarithromycin is unlikely.

There have been post-marketing reports of drug interactions and central nervous system (CNS) effects (e.g. somnolence and confusion) with the concomitant use of clarithromycin and triazolam. Monitoring the patient for increased CNS pharmacological effects is suggested.

Other drug interactions

Aminoglycosides

Caution is advised regarding concomitant administration of clarithromycin with other ototoxic drugs, especially with aminoglycosides. See 4.4

Colchicine

Colchicine is a substrate for both CYP3A and the efflux transporter, P-glycoprotein (Pgp). Clarithromycin and other macrolides are known to inhibit CYP3A and Pgp. When clarithromycin and colchicine are administered together, inhibition of Pgp and/or CYP3A by clarithromycin may lead to increased exposure to colchicine(see section 4.3 and 4.4).

Digoxin

Digoxin is thought to be a substrate for the efflux transporter, P-glycoprotein (Pgp). Clarithromycin is known to inhibit Pgp. When clarithromycin and digoxin are administered together, inhibition of Pgp by clarithromycin may lead to increased exposure to digoxin. Elevated digoxin serum concentrations in patients receiving clarithromycin and digoxin concomitantly have also been reported in post marketing surveillance. Some patients have shown clinical signs consistent with digoxin toxicity, including potentially fatal arrhythmias. Serum digoxin concentrations should be carefully monitored while patients are receiving digoxin and clarithromycin simultaneously.

Zidovudine

Simultaneous oral administration of clarithromycin tablets and zidovudine to HIV-infected adult patients may result in decreased steady-state zidovudine concentrations. Because clarithromycin appears to interfere with the absorption of simultaneously administered oral zidovudine, this interaction can be largely avoided by staggering the doses of clarithromycin and zidovudine to allow for a 4-hour interval between each medication. This interaction does not appear to occur in paediatric HIV-infected patients taking clarithromycin suspension with zidovudine or dideoxyinosine. This interaction is unlikely when clarithromycin is administered via intravenous infusion.

Phenytoin and Valproate

There have been spontaneous or published reports of interactions of CYP3A inhibitors, including clarithromycin with drugs not thought to be metabolized by CYP3A (e.g. phenytoin and valproate). Serum level determinations are recommended for these drugs when administered concomitantly with clarithromycin. Increased serum levels have been reported

Bi-directional drug interactions

Atazanavir

Both clarithromycin and atazanavir are substrates and inhibitors of CYP3A, and there is evidence of a bi-directional drug interaction. Co-administration of clarithromycin (500 mg twice daily) with atazanavir (400 mg once daily) resulted in a 2- fold increase in exposure to clarithromycin and a 70% decrease in exposure to 14-OH-clarithromycin, with a 28% increase in the AUC of atazanavir. Because of the large therapeutic window for clarithromycin, no dosage reduction should be necessary in patients with normal renal function. For patients with moderate renal function (creatinine clearance 30 to 60 mL/min), the dose of clarithromycin should be decreased by 50%. For patients with creatinine clearance <30 mL/min, the dose of clarithromycin should be decreased by 75% using an appropriate clarithromycin formulation.

Doses of clarithromycin greater than 1000 mg per day should not be co-administered with protease inhibitors.

Calcium Channel Blockers

Caution is advised regarding the concomitant administration of clarithromycin and calcium channel blockers metabolized by CYP3A4 (e.g., verapamil, amlodipine, diltiazem) due to the risk of hypotension. Plasma concentrations of clarithromycin as well as calcium channel blockers may increase due to the interaction. Hypotension, bradyarrhythmias and lactic acidosis have been observed in patients taking clarithromycin and verapamil concomitantly.

Itraconazole

Both clarithromycin and itraconazole are substrates and inhibitors of CYP3A, leading to a bidirectional drug interaction. Clarithromycin may increase the plasma levels of itraconazole, while itraconazole may increase the plasma levels of clarithromycin. Patients taking itraconazole and clarithromycin concomitantly should be monitored closely for signs or symptoms of increased or prolonged pharmacologic effect.

Saquinavir

Both clarithromycin and saquinavir are substrates and inhibitors of CYP3A, and there is evidence of a bi-directional drug interaction. Concomitant administration of clarithromycin (500 mg twice daily) and saquinavir (soft gelatin capsules, 1200 mg three times daily) to 12 healthy volunteers resulted in steady-state AUC and Cmax values of saquinavir which were 177% and 187% higher than those seen with saquinavir alone. Clarithromycin AUC and Cmax values were approximately 40% higher than those seen with clarithromycin alone. No dose adjustment is required when the two drugs are co-administered for a limited time at the doses/formulations studied. Observations from drug interaction studies using the soft gelatin capsule formulation may not be representative of the effects seen using the saquinavir hard gelatin capsule. Observations from drug interaction studies performed with saquinavir alone may not be representative of the effects seen with saquinavir/ritonavir therapy. When saquinavir is co-administered with ritonavir, consideration should be given to the potential effects of ritonavir on clarithromycin

Biaxin XL

Generic Name: clarithromycin (kla RITH roe MYE sin)
Brand Names: Biaxin XL

Medically reviewed by P. Thornton, DipPharm Last updated on Nov 4, 2019.

  • Overview
  • Side Effects
  • Dosage
  • Interactions
  • Pregnancy
  • More

What is Biaxin XL?

Biaxin XL (clarithromycin) is a macrolide antibiotic that fights bacteria in your body.

Biaxin XL is used to treat many different types of bacterial infections affecting the skin and respiratory system.

Biaxin XL is also used together with other medicines to treat stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori.

Take Biaxin XL for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Clarithromycin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

You should not use Biaxin XL if you are allergic to clarithromycin or similar antibiotics, if you have ever had jaundice or liver problems caused by taking Biaxin XL, or if you have liver or kidney disease and are also taking colchicine.

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using. Many drugs can interact with clarithromycin, and some drugs should not be used together.

How should I take Biaxin XL?

Take Biaxin XL exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Do not use clarithromycin to treat any condition that has not been checked by your doctor. Do not share this medicine with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.

Biaxin XL extended-release tablets should be taken with food.

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.

Biaxin XL is usually given for 7 to 14 days. Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time, even if your symptoms quickly improve. Skipping doses can increase your risk of infection that is resistant to medication. Clarithromycin will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.

Store this medicine in the original container at room temperature, away from moisture, heat, and light.

If your infection is treated with a combination of drugs, use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor’s advice.

More about Biaxin XL (clarithromycin)

  • Side Effects
  • During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
  • Dosage Information
  • Drug Images
  • Drug Interactions
  • 9 Reviews
  • Drug class: macrolides
  • FDA Alerts (1)
  • Biaxin XL
  • Biaxin XL (Advanced Reading)

Other brands: Biaxin

  • Clarithromycin (AHFS Monograph)
  • … +1 more
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clarithromycin (Biaxin, Biaxin XL, Biaxin XL-Pak)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking clarithromycin (Biaxin, Biaxin XL, Biaxin XL-Pak)?

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to clarithromycin or similar medicines such as azithromycin (Zithromax, Z-Pak, Zmax), erythromycin, or telithromycin, or if:

  • you have had jaundice or liver problems caused by taking clarithromycin; or
  • you have liver or kidney disease and you also take a medicine called colchicine.

Some medicines can cause unwanted or dangerous effects when used with clarithromycin. Your doctor may change your treatment plan if you also use:

  • cisapride;
  • pimozide;
  • lovastatin or simvastatin; or
  • ergotamine or dihydroergotamine.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • heart problems;
  • long QT syndrome (in you or a family member);
  • coronary artery disease (clogged arteries);
  • myasthenia gravis;
  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • diabetes; or
  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood).

Clarithromycin may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

In animal studies, clarithromycin caused birth defects. However, it is not known whether these effects would occur in humans. Ask your doctor about your risk.

It may not be safe to breast-feed a baby while you are using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risks.

Clarithromycin is not approved for use by anyone younger than 6 months old.

How should I take clarithromycin (Biaxin, Biaxin XL, Biaxin XL-Pak)?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Do not use clarithromycin to treat any condition that has not been checked by your doctor. Do not share this medicine with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.

You may take clarithromycin regular tablets and oral suspension (liquid) with or without food.

Clarithromycin extended-release tablets (Biaxin XL) should be taken with food.

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.

Shake the oral liquid before you measure a dose. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

Clarithromycin is usually given for 7 to 14 days. Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time, even if your symptoms quickly improve. Skipping doses can increase your risk of infection that is resistant to medication. Clarithromycin will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.

Store this medicine in the original container at room temperature, away from moisture, heat, and light.

Do not keep the oral liquid in a refrigerator. Throw away any liquid that has not been used within 14 days.

If your infection is treated with a combination of drugs, use all medications as directed by your doctor. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor’s advice.

SLIDESHOW

Bacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments See Slideshow

Clarithromycin Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 22, 2018.

  • Overview
  • Side Effects
  • Dosage
  • Professional
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In Summary

Commonly reported side effects of clarithromycin include: dysgeusia. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to clarithromycin: oral powder for suspension, oral tablet, oral tablet extended release

Along with its needed effects, clarithromycin may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking clarithromycin:

Less common

  • Cough
  • fever or chills
  • hoarseness
  • lower back or side pain
  • painful or difficult urination

Rare

  • Fever with or without chills
  • nausea and vomiting
  • severe stomach cramps and pain
  • skin rash and itching
  • stomach tenderness
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • watery and severe diarrhea, which may also be bloody
  • yellow eyes or skin

Incidence not known

  • Anxiety
  • black, tarry stools
  • blistering, peeling, loosening of the skin
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • clay-colored stools
  • confusion about identity, place, and time
  • cool, pale skin
  • dark urine
  • depression
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • feeling of unreality
  • feeling that others are watching you or controlling your behavior
  • feeling that others can hear your thoughts
  • feeling, seeing, or hearing things that are not there
  • hives
  • increased hunger
  • irregular heartbeat
  • joint or muscle pain
  • light-colored stools
  • loss of appetite
  • nightmares
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • recurrent fainting
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes
  • redness, swelling, or soreness of the tongue
  • seizures
  • sense of detachment from self or body
  • severe mood or mental changes
  • shakiness
  • slurred speech
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • stomach pain
  • sudden death
  • swollen glands
  • tightness in the chest
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual behavior
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting of blood

Some side effects of clarithromycin may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common

  • Belching
  • bloated or full feeling
  • change in sensation of taste
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • mild diarrhea
  • passing gas

Incidence not known

  • Alterations of sense of smell
  • continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • hearing loss
  • lightheadedness
  • loss of taste
  • mood or mental changes
  • sensation of spinning
  • shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • skin eruptions
  • sore mouth or tongue
  • swelling or inflammation of the mouth
  • tongue discoloration
  • tooth discoloration
  • trouble sleeping
  • weight loss

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to clarithromycin: oral powder for reconstitution, oral tablet, oral tablet extended release

General

The most common side effects were abdominal pain/discomfort, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and dysgeusia/taste perversion.

In immunocompromised patients treated with higher doses of this drug (1 to 2 g/day), the most common side effects were nausea, vomiting, taste perversion, abdominal pain, diarrhea, rash, flatulence, headache, constipation, hearing disturbance, increased AST, and increased ALT.

Nervous system

Deafness was reported mainly in elderly women and was usually reversible.

Very common (10% or more): Dysgeusia/taste perversion (up to 16%)

Common (1% to 10%): Headache, dizziness

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Loss of consciousness, dyskinesia, somnolence, hearing impaired, tinnitus, tremor, vertigo

Frequency not reported: New onset of symptoms of myasthenic syndrome, exacerbation of symptoms of myasthenia gravis, hearing disturbance, muzziness

Postmarketing reports: Convulsions, ageusia, parosmia/smell perversion, anosmia, paresthesia, deafness, hyperkinesia

Gastrointestinal

Very common (10% or more): Nausea (up to 12.3%)

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Glossitis, stomatitis, esophagitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastritis, proctalgia, abdominal distension, dry mouth, eructation, gastroenteritis, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, bleeding gums, bloodstained stools

Frequency not reported: Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (ranging from mild diarrhea to fatal colitis), pancreatitis

Postmarketing reports: Acute pancreatitis, tongue discoloration, tooth discoloration, pseudomembranous colitis, enteritis

The incidence of dry mouth was similar for patients treated with 1 to 2 g/day, but was generally about 3 to 4 times as frequent for those treated with 4 g/day.

Severity of pseudomembranous colitis has ranged from mild to life-threatening.

Tooth discoloration was usually reversible with professional dental cleaning after the drug was stopped.

Local

These side effects are specific to the IV formulation.

Very common (10% or more): Injection site phlebitis

Common (1% to 10%): Injection site pain, injection site inflammation, tenderness at site of administration

Frequency not reported: Vessel puncture site pain

Hepatic

Common (1% to 10%): Elevated AST, elevated ALT, abnormal liver function test

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Cholestasis, hepatitis (symptoms included anorexia, jaundice, dark urine, pruritus, tender abdomen), increased blood bilirubin, elevated GGT, elevated direct bilirubin, hepatic dysfunction (including increased liver enzymes), hepatitis and cholestasis with or without jaundice

Frequency not reported: Hepatocellular and/or cholestatic hepatitis (with or without jaundice), drug-induced hepatotoxicity, fulminant hepatic failure

Postmarketing reports: Hepatic failure, hepatocellular jaundice, adverse reactions related to hepatic dysfunction, abnormal hepatic function, liver abnormalities

Elevated AST (greater than 5 times the upper limit of normal ) and ALT (greater than 5 x ULN) were reported in up to 4% and up to 3% of patients, respectively.

Hepatic dysfunction (sometimes severe and usually reversible), including increased liver enzymes, and hepatocellular and/or cholestatic hepatitis, with or without jaundice have been reported. In some instances, hepatic failure with fatal outcome has been reported and generally has been associated with serious underlying diseases (e.g., preexisting liver disease) and/or concomitant medications (e.g., hepatotoxic agents).

Drug-induced hepatotoxicity was rare and typically associated with higher doses (1 to 2 g/day) and high serum drug levels. The enzyme elevation pattern was usually cholestatic with minimal elevations of AST and ALT.

Hypersensitivity

Common (1% to 10%): Anaphylactoid reaction

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hypersensitivity, allergic reactions

Postmarketing reports: Anaphylactic reaction, angioedema

Allergic reactions have ranged from urticaria and mild skin eruptions to rare cases of anaphylaxis.

A 92-year-old female admitted for heart failure and a right upper lobe infiltrate was started on clarithromycin 500 mg. The following day, this drug was discontinued and IV antibiotics were initiated due to persisting fever. She received only 1 dose of this drug. On day 6 of the hospitalization, the patient was afebrile, IV antibiotics were stopped, and this drug was again started. Two hours after the dose, the patient developed swelling in her lips, jaw, tongue, mouth, and face. The patient was given diphenhydramine and the clarithromycin was discontinued. She was discharged the following day.

Cardiovascular

Common (1% to 10%): Vasodilation, phlebitis

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): ECG QT prolonged, cardiac arrest, atrial fibrillation, extrasystoles, palpitations

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Arrhythmia

Frequency not reported: QT interval prolongation

Postmarketing reports: Ventricular arrhythmia, ventricular tachycardia, torsades de pointes, hemorrhage

Hematologic

Common (1% to 10%): Decreased WBC, decreased platelet count, decreased hemoglobin

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Leukopenia, neutropenia, thrombocythemia, eosinophilia, increased prothrombin time

Frequency not reported: Granulocytopenia, reduction in prothrombin time

Postmarketing reports: Thrombocytopenia, agranulocytosis, prolonged prothrombin time, decreased WBC count, increased INR

Dermatologic

Common (1% to 10%): Rash, hyperhidrosis, pruritus

Postmarketing reports: Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), Henoch-Schonlein purpura, acne, erysipelas, erythrasma

Other

Common (1% to 10%): Infection, candidiasis, pyrexia/fever, asthenia

Postmarketing reports: Otitis media, extended-release tablets in the stool, colchicine toxicity

Many reports of extended-release tablets in the stool occurred in patients with anatomic (including ileostomy or colostomy) or functional gastrointestinal disorders with shortened gastrointestinal transit times. In several reports, tablet residues occurred in the context of diarrhea.

Colchicine toxicity has been reported with concomitant use of this drug and colchicine, especially in the elderly; some occurred in patients with renal dysfunction. Death occurred in some such patients.

Psychiatric

The incidence of insomnia was similar for patients treated with 1 to 2 g/day, but was generally about 3 to 4 times as frequent for those treated with 4 g/day.

Psychotic disorder, confusional state, depersonalization, depression, disorientation, manic behavior, hallucination, abnormal behavior, and/or abnormal dreams usually resolved after the drug was stopped.

Common (1% to 10%): Insomnia

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Anxiety, nervousness, screaming, depression, sleep disturbance

Frequency not reported: Behavioral changes, nightmares, psychosis

Postmarketing reports: Psychotic disorder, confusional state, depersonalization, disorientation, hallucination, depression, manic behavior, abnormal behavior, abnormal dreams

Metabolic

Increased alkaline phosphatase (greater than 5 x ULN) was reported in up to 2% of patients.

Hypoglycemia has been reported in patients receiving oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin.

Common (1% to 10%): Increased alkaline phosphatase

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Anorexia, decreased appetite, increased blood LDH

Postmarketing reports: Hypoglycemia

Respiratory

The incidence of dyspnea was similar for patients treated with 1 to 2 g/day, but was generally about 3 to 4 times as frequent for those treated with 4 g/day.

Common (1% to 10%): Dyspnea, rhinitis, increased cough, pharyngitis, asthma

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Epistaxis, pulmonary embolism

Frequency not reported: Laryngismus

Ocular

Common (1% to 10%): Conjunctivitis

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Photophobia

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Uveitis

Frequency not reported: Corneal opacities

Uveitis was reported primarily in patients treated with concomitant rifabutin; most cases were reversible.

A case of corneal opacities was reported in a patient with AIDS and Mycobacterium avium complex bacteremia. The patient’s ocular signs and symptoms resolved upon substitution with azithromycin.

Renal

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Elevated BUN, elevated serum creatinine, increased blood urea, increased blood creatinine

Frequency not reported: Acute renal failure

Postmarketing reports: Interstitial nephritis, renal failure

Elevated BUN (greater than 50 mg/dL) was reported in less than 1% of patients.

Musculoskeletal

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Myalgia, muscle spasms, nuchal rigidity, musculoskeletal stiffness, arthralgia, back pain

Postmarketing reports: Myopathy, rhabdomyolysis

In some cases of rhabdomyolysis, this drug was coadministered with statins, fibrates, colchicine, or allopurinol.

Genitourinary

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Vaginal infection

Postmarketing reports: Abnormal urine color (associated with hepatic failure), dysuria

Immunologic

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Leukocytoclastic vasculitis

1. Cerner Multum, Inc. “Australian Product Information.” O 0

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. “UK Summary of Product Characteristics.” O 0

3. “Multum Information Services, Inc. Expert Review Panel”

4. Karma P, Pukander J, Penttila M, et al “The comparative efficacy and safety of clarithromycin and amoxycillin in the treatment of outpatients with acute maxillary sinusitis.” J Antimicrob Chemother 27 (1991): 83-90

6. Zuckerman JM, Kaye KM “The newer macrolides: azithromycin and clarithromycin.” Infect Dis Clin North Am 9 (1995): 731-45

7. Anderson G, Esmonde T, Coles S, et al “A comparative safety and efficacy study of clarithromycin and erythromycin stearate in community-acquired pneumonia.” J Antimicrob Chemother 27 (1991): 117-24

10. Hamedani P, Ali J, Hafeez S, et al “The safety and efficacy of clarithromycin in patients with legionella pneumonia.” Chest 100 (1991): 1503-6

11. Straneo G, Scarpazza G “Efficacy and safety of clarithromycin versus josamycin in the treatment of hospitalized patients with bacterial pneumonia.” J Int Med Res 18 (1990): 164-70

12. Peters D, Clissold S “Clarithromycin: a review of its antimicrobial activity, pharmacokinetic properties and therapeutic potential.” Drugs 44 (1992): 117-64

13. Guay D, Craft J “Comparative safety and efficacy of clarithromycin and ampicillin in the treatment of out-patients with acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis.” J Intern Med 231 (1992): 295-301

14. Macfarlane JT, Prewitt J, Gard P, Guion A “Comparison of amoxycillin and clarithromycin as initial treatment of community-acquired lower respiratory tract infections.” Br J Gen Pract 46 (1996): 357-60

15. Dorrell L, Ellerton C, Cottrell DG, Snow MH “Toxicity of clarithromycin in the treatment of mycobacterium avium complex infection in a patient with AIDS.” J Antimicrob Chemother 34 (1994): 605-6

16. Dautzenberg B, Piperno D, Diot P, Truffotpernot C, Chauvin JP “Clarithromycin in the treatment of mycobacterium avium lung infections in patients without AIDS.” Chest 107 (1995): 1035-40

17. “Product Information. Biaxin (clarithromycin).” Abbott Pharmaceutical, Abbott Park, IL.

18. Wood M “The tolerance and toxicity of clarithromycin.” J Hosp Infect 19 (1991): 39-46

19. Hardy D, Guay D, Jones R “Clarithromycin, a unique macrolide.” Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis 15 (1992): 39-53

20. Marchi E “Comparative efficacy and tolerability of clarithromycin and amoxycillin in the treatment of out-patients with acute maxillary sinusitis.” Curr Med Res Opin 12 (1990): 19-24

21. Liviu L, Yair L, Yehuda S “Pancreatitis induced by clarithromycin.” Ann Intern Med 125 (1996): 701

22. Fraschini F “Clinical efficacy and tolerance of two new macrolides, clarithromycin and josamycin, in the treatment of patients with acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis.” J Int Med Res 18 (1990): 171-76

23. de Campora E, Camaioni A, Leonardi M, et al “Comparative efficacy and safety of roxithromycin and clarithromycin in upper respiratory tract infections.” Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis 15 (1992): s119-22

24. Brown BA, Wallace RJ, Griffith DE, Girard W “Clarithromycin-induced hepatotoxicity.” Clin Infect Dis 20 (1995): 1073-4

25. Baylor P, Williams K “Interstitial nephritis, thrombocytopenia, hepatitis, and elevated serum amylase levels in a patient receiving clarithromycin therapy.” Clin Infect Dis 29 (1999): 1350-1

26. Shaheen N, Grimm IS “Fulminant hepatic failure associated with clarithromycin.” Am J Gastroenterol 91 (1996): 394-5

27. Liviu L, Yair L “Pancreatitis induced by clarithromycin.” Ann Intern Med 125 (1996): 701

28. Vangala R, Cernek PK “Hypersensitivity reaction to clarithromycin.” Ann Pharmacother 30 (1996): 300

29. Kundu S, Williams SR, Nordt SP, Clark RF “Clarithromycin-induced ventricular tachycardia.” Ann Emerg Med 30 (1997): 542-4

32. Abouesh A, Hobbs WR “Clarithromycin-induced mania.” Am J Psychiatry 155 (1998): 1626

33. Mermelstein HT “Clarithromycin-induced delirium in a general hospital.” Psychosomatics 39 (1998): 540-2

34. Cone LA, Sneider RA, Nazemi R, Dietrich EJ “Mania due to clarithromycin therapy in a patient who was not infected with human immunodeficiency virus.” Clin Infect Dis 22 (1996): 595-6

35. Geiderman JM “Central nervous system disturbances following clarithromycin ingestion.” Clin Infect Dis 29 (1999): 464-5

36. “WHO system finds 13 drugs with AEs not in PDR, Martindale.” F-D-C Reports — “The Pink Sheet” 60 (1998): 16

37. Gavura SR, Nusinowitz S “Leukocytoclastic vasculitis associated with clarithromycin.” Ann Pharmacother 32 (1998): 543-5

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.

  • Can I drink alcohol while taking clarithromycin?
  • Can clarithromycin be used to treat UTI’s?
  • What is the best antibiotic to treat strep throat?
  • What antibiotics are used to treat pneumonia?

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Drugs A-Z provides drug information from Everyday Health and our partners, as well as ratings from our members, all in one place. Cerner Multum™ provides the data within some of the Basics, Side Effects, Interactions, and Dosage tabs. The information within the Reviews and FAQ tabs is proprietary to Everyday Health.

You can browse Drugs A-Z for a specific prescription or over-the-counter drug or look up drugs based on your specific condition. This information is for educational purposes only, and not meant to provide medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Remember to always consult your physician or health care provider before starting, stopping, or altering a treatment or health care regimen.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by on this page is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. The information on this page has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore neither Everyday Health or its licensor warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Neither Everyday Health nor its licensors endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. The drug information above is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Neither Everyday Health nor its licensor assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of the information provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have any questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

About clarithromycin

Type of medicine A macrolide antibiotic
Used for Bacterial infections including chest, skin, and ear infections
Some types of stomach ulcers
Also called Clarie XL®; Klaricid®; Klaricid XL®; Xetinin XL®
Available as Tablets, oral liquid medicine, sachet, and modified-release tablets

Clarithromycin is prescribed to treat bacterial infections such as respiratory infections, ear infections and skin infections. It can be taken by adults and children. It works by stopping the bacteria causing the infection from multiplying.

Clarithromycin is also given to get rid of Helicobacter pylori. This is the bacterium believed to cause stomach ulcers. If you are prescribed it for this reason, you will also be prescribed other medicines to take alongside it.

Before taking clarithromycin

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking clarithromycin it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have any problems with the way your liver works or the way your kidneys work.
  • If you know you have an unusual heart rhythm.
  • If you have a muscle disorder called myasthenia gravis.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. In particular, if you are taking a ‘statin’ medicine for high cholesterol or colchicine for gout. This also includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.

How to take clarithromycin

  • Before you start taking the antibiotic, read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about clarithromycin and provide a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Take clarithromycin exactly as your doctor tells you to. Most forms of clarithromycin are taken twice a day, in the morning and evening. If you are given a modified-release tablet (these have an XL after the brand name (for example, Klaricid XL®, Clarie XL®, Mycifor XL®), you will only need to take one dose a day, as the medicine inside these tablets is released slowly over the day.
  • Standard-release tablets, liquid medicine, and sachets can all be taken either before or after food. Modified-release tablets (these are the ones that are only taken once daily) should be taken after food. Do not chew or break modified-release tablets, as this will affect the way the medicine inside them is released.
  • When clarithromycin is prescribed for a child, the dose will depend upon the child’s weight. Make sure you read the label carefully so that you measure out the correct amount of medicine.
  • If you have been given clarithromycin sachets to take, open the sachet and mix the granules into a small glass of water before taking.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take one as soon as you remember. Try to take the correct number of doses each day, but do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a forgotten one.
  • It is usual for a course of treatment to last for 5-14 days. Even if you feel your infection has cleared up, keep taking the antibiotic until the course is finished (unless your doctor tells you otherwise). This is to prevent the infection from coming back and being more difficult to treat.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Some people develop thrush (redness and itchiness in the mouth or vagina) after taking a course of antibiotics. If this happens to you, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice about how to treat it.
  • This antibiotic may stop the oral typhoid vaccine from working. If you are having any vaccinations, make sure the person treating you knows that you are taking this medicine.
  • If you are taking a ‘statin’ medicine for high cholesterol your doctor may advise you to stop taking the statin whilst being treated with clarithromycin. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking clarithromycin.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with this antibiotic.
  • If you still feel unwell after completing your course of the antibiotic, make another appointment to see your doctor.

Can clarithromycin cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with clarithromycin. You will find a full list in the manufacturer’s information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common clarithromycin side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people) What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting), stomach ache, wind (flatulence), indigestion Stick to simple meals – avoid rich or spicy food
Diarrhoea Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids. If the diarrhoea continues or is severe, speak with your doctor as soon as possible
Tooth or tongue discolouration, and changes in the way things taste or smell This will disappear after you finish your treatment
Sore mouth Speak with your doctor if this becomes a problem
Headache Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store clarithromycin

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • If you have been given liquid medicine, it will have been made up by the pharmacy and it lasts for a limited number of days only. Check the expiry date on the bottle and do not use it after this date.

Important information about all medicines

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Clarithromycin Online Prescription

  • Request clarithromycin online
  • Prompt, affordable care
  • Same day prescriptions available

Clarithromycin – An Overview

Clarithromycin is a type of antibiotic that is used to treat infections caused by infectious agents thought to be susceptible to clarithromycin. People who might need a clarithromycin prescription can use Push Health to connect with a local medical provider who can prescribe clarithromycin (e.g. 500 mg or 250 mg) when appropriate and indicated to do so.

Clarithromycin – Mechanism of Action

Clarithromycin, marketed under the brand name Biaxin, is a medication used to prevent and treat infections strongly suspected or proven to be caused by bacteria susceptible to the medication. Clarithromycin, like azithromycin (Z-pak) and erythromycin, belongs to a class of medications known as macrolide antibiotics. Clarithromycin has demonstrated efficacy against certain gram positive and gram negative organisms as well as mycobacteria, irrespective of the production of beta-lactamase. Clarithromycin is thought to work by blocking protein synthesis in targeted bacteria through interference with the 50S ribosomal subunit. Clarithromycin is also combined with amoxicillin, lansoprazole, omeprazole and ranitidine in various combinations as part of therapy for H. pylori infections.

Clarithromycin – Dosage, Use and Price

Clarithromycin is frequently supplied as clarithromycin 250 mg tablets and clarithromycin 500 mg tablets. The dosing regimen used depends on what clarithromycin is being used to treat, the health characteristics of the patient and the judgement of the prescribing medical provider. Clarithromycin can generally be taken without food or with it as desired. After oral administration, clarithromycin is typically absorbed rapidly, demonstrating a peak at under 3 hours in many people. Steady state clarithromycin levels are typically reached within 8 hours. Clarithromycin is metabolized into 14-OH clarithromycin in the body and penetrates fluids and tissues readily. Clarithromycin is relatively affordable, costing approximately $1 per clarithromycin 500 mg tablet at many pharmacies in the United States. For people paying out of pocket, clarithromycin coupons are sometimes available online. Also, some insurance plans may help pay for costs associated with a clarithromycin prescription, depending on the medical indication. Generally speaking, clarithromycin tablets should be stored between 20° C and 25° C.

Can I Buy Clarithromycin Online?

Clarithromycin OTC is not available in the United States as clarithromycin is a prescription medication. As a result, one cannot just buy clarithromycin online as the first step to getting clarithromycin tablets is consulting a licensed medical provider. People who might need a clarithromycin prescription, however, can use Push Health to consult a medical provider who can prescribe clarithromycin 500 mg or clarithromycin 250 mg when appropriate to do so.

Clarithromycin – Side Effects

Clarithromycin can cause side effects, and concerns about the use of the medication should be discussed with one’s pharmacist and medical provider before using clarithromycin. Side effects that can result from clarithromycin use include stomach discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, abnormal taste, headache and heartburn. Clarithromycin should not be used by people with a history of liver dysfunction. Care should be taken when clarithromycin is prescribed concomitantly with other medications as there are a number of contraindications to using clarithromycin with other drugs. Clarithromycin can cause QT prolongation and other cardiac dysrhythmias. Clarithromycin and alcohol should not be used together. People with a known hypersensitivity to clarithromycin, Biaxin or other macrolide antibiotics should not use the medication.

More Clarithromycin Information

  • Medline

Last updated November 18, 2019. Given the evolving nature of medicine and science, this information might not be accurate and should not be construed as medical advice or diagnosis / treatment recommendations. Please consult a licensed medical provider if you have additional questions.

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